Legislation to overhaul Kentucky’s foster care and adoption program has passed both houses of the general assembly. Senate approval came Monday with a unanimous vote.
Hopkinsville Senator Whitney Westerfield, an adoptive father, outlined key provisions of the bill to his senate colleagues. “There are various timelines that are put on the system that impact both the cabinet of Health and Family Services and the court system to make sure these children and their cases aren’t lost in the shuffle of a court docket or over bureaucracy over at the cabinet for an over long period of time,” said Westerfied.
The bill aims to protect babies born of drug addicted mothers. It begins the process of terminating parental rights if the mother doesn’t enroll in drug treatment.
Stanford Representative David Meade, an adoptive father, played a significant in shepherding the bill through the process. His wife, Rebecca along with their seven year old daughter Cara and eleven year old son Caleb, were on the senate floor Monday. “I believe that this will help the families that want to bring these kids into their homes forever just to feel confident that the process will help them with that,” noted Meade.
The measure also includes a punitive father registry which would require unmarried fathers of newborns to register with the state no more than 30 days after the child’s birth if they wish to have a say in the child’s adoption process