[SPA Cross-Post] Reuniting with birth family – the Minnesota Family Reunification Act goes into effect

August 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

[SPA Cross-Post] Reuniting with birth family – the Minnesota Family Reunification Act goes into effect

By Heidi Skallet on August 13, 2013 10:37 AM | No Comments

This blog post was originally posted by JaeRan Kim in our Stability, Permanency, & Adoption Blog on August 5, 2013.

As of last Thursday, August 1 2013, the Family Reunification Act went into effect. This law allows foster youth 15 and older who were never adopted to have the option to reunite with their birth parents.

The law stipulates that the birth parents must be able to demonstrate that they have resolved or addressed the issues that were the reason for the youth’s removal. According to the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, only a county attorney may be able to file a petition for reunification under this act. There are some issues that would prevent restoration of parental rights to a child; for example, if a parent had a termination of parental rights due to sexual abuse, death of a minor, or was convicted of egregious harm/ specific crimes (see Minnesota Statute 260C.007, subd. 14).

Other restrictions include the length of time the child has been in foster care since the termination of parental rights has occurred as well as the following:

    • Both the responsible social services agency and county attorney agree that reestablishment of the legal parent and child relationship is in the child’s best interest;
    • The parent is willing and has the capability to provide day-to-day care and maintain the health, safety, and welfare of the child;
    • The child has been in foster care for at least 36 months after the court issued the order terminating parental rights;
    • The child is 15 years of age or older at the time the petition for reestablishment of the legal parent and child relationship is filed;
    • The child has not been adopted; and
    • The child is not the subject of a written adoption placement agreement
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