Last Thursday, the Minnesota House passed the Family Reunification Act of 2013. The Act establishes a process to restore a parent-child relationship between a child who is at least 15 years of age and a parent whose parental rights were previously terminated. The bill, with bipartisan support, awaits signature by Governor Dayton.
Here are the key provisions of the Act:
Although a relatively small number of children are likely to fit the criteria found within the Act, the bill certainly provides a meaningful second chance for parents who have turned things around.
Like so many, I endorse the Act. I question, however, the need for a mandatory three year gap between the time of termination and the option for a petition for reunification. If only a county attorney may petition, and agreement among the county attorney and social services is required in order to bring a petition, it seems the county attorney can serve as gatekeeper.