Adoption bill fast-tracked through SC Senate

Legislation to make adoptions faster and more efficient moved quickly and quietly through the state Senate last week.
Senator Mike Fair, the bill’s chief sponsor, says DSS has asked for legislative help in solving an array of problems he has found in his own district. One of those is child abuse. “Too many instances where children were abused after they were sent back home from a foster home to their biological parent and a boyfriend or step-parent inflicted bodily injury on them. We’ve had children in the Upstate, in the last couple of years, we’ve had a couple of children to die at the hands of someone in their home,” says Fair.
Bill S-1172 says Fair, allows the courts and DSS to truly take care of the needs of the child first when it comes to terminating parental rights. That process has gotten drawn out for months, and years.
As Fair sees it, “It’s a real hard situation for those who are given the mandate–DSS is who I am speaking of primarily–to protect children and at the same time keep the families together. That’s a very difficult thing to do. It’s almost a no-win.
So winner the winner in this legislation, says Fair, are children who would otherwise be sitting in foster care too long for their well-being.
The bill outlines tougher requirements on parents who have had their children taken out of their custody and expedites moving a child into foster care and adoption. It also calls for a clear placement plan for children who have to be removed from their homes. Fair says the bill is a product of  several children’s agencies, family courts and people who advocate for children.
“They have recognized that there are problems that exist with the process. They came together and they have written this bill,” says Fair.
Another supporter of the bill, Berkeley Senator Paul Campbell says,”Typically, it takes about 37 months or so to take a child from when you terminate parental rights until you can put them into a stable, family environment through adoption. We want to speed that up.”
It also protects parents, says Campbell. “If you have a child that is taken out of the home, there will be a specific plan and a specific due diligence requirement in that plan in order to get the child back. So it tells the parent a little more about what they’re going to have to do and follow through to get the child returned to the home.”