Saturday, May 5, 2012

Michigan makes it easier to terminate parental rights of sex offenders

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a measure allowing family courts to terminate parental rights for sex offenders.  The measure passed both chambers unanimously.

Sex offenders could have lost parental rights if they violated certain portions of the existing juvenile code, but the amended law now explicitly includes a parent’s requirement to register under the Sex Offenders Registration Act as a reason the family court may terminate a parent’s parental rights, reported

The bill brings state law in line with federal guidelines as required by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act Reauthorization Act of 2010.

In preparing the legislation, Congress found:

In 2008, approximately 772,000 children were found by States to be victims of child abuse and neglect. Investigations have determined that approximately 71 percent of children who were victims of maltreatment in fiscal year 2008 suffered neglect, 16 percent suffered physical abuse, 9 percent suffered sexual abuse, 7 percent suffered psychological maltreatment, 2 percent experienced medical neglect, and 9 percent were victims of other forms of maltreatment.

In 2008, estimated 1,740 children were counted by child protection services to have died as a result of abuse and neglect.

Michigan had to make this and other clarifications to the juvenile code in order to qualify for about $800,000 in federal funding for child abuse and neglect prevention activities, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency.

“Our children deserve a safe, nurturing environment in which to grow and develop,” Snyder said in a statement, reported by “Protecting them from any type of abuse is a key priority.”

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