In Legislative news – the public gave comments on Bill 299-36, which is a bill that would include aggravated circumstances as grounds for terminating parental rights.
PNC’s Damen Michael has the story.
Senator Mary Torres, says that Guam lacks clear standards for family reunification she went into further detail by saying Guam’s child protective act does not specify when efforts to reunify the children with the family are no longer required, nor does the law clearly state when the petition for the determination for parental rights must be filed by child protective services.
Senator Torres further added that bill 299 looks to address this issue in two ways by establishing aggravated circumstances as grounds for terminating parental rights and updating Guam’s timeline to update permanency planning to comply with federal standards.
During the public hearing members of Public Health, Bureau of Women Affairs, Ohala Adoptions, and foster parent Helen Middlebroke gave their testimonies for bill 299.
Middlebroke says that lawmakers should fix the broken permanency system so that foster families can adopt in a timely matter so that children aren’t stuck in the child protection system for longer periods of time.
Director of the Bureau of Women Affairs, Jane Flores said BWA supports and is in favor of Bill 299.
Flores said, ” BWA supports and will assist wherever and whenever with family reunification when that reunification is in the best interest of that child. ”
In a release made by Senator Torres, she said if we say we care about life then this government must make timely decisions for kids in foster care. She added we cannot allow them to lose their lives to the child welfare system, it is my hope that by passing this bill more kids can experience the loving security of a family who is willing and capable of caring for them.
Reporting for the Pacific News Centre
I’m Damen Michael