State lawmakers want to make it easier for parents to regain custody of their kids from foster care.
A recent NPR report found that North Carolina is one of only 12 states where parents can permanently lose their kids because they didn’t pay child support to the foster care system.
The story featured a couple in Martin County who regained custody of three of their four children. But the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that their fourth child had been properly put up for adoption because they hadn’t paid some of the child support costs while he was in foster care.
A provision in a Senate adoption reform bill would change that. Sen. Sydney Batch, D-Wake, one of the sponsors, addressed the impacts of the current system on families.
“Many of the families that are in the child welfare system are already poor. And so this is just another tax,” Batch said as the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Under the new bill, parents would no longer be required to pay while their child is in foster care.
NPR reported that the situation is more common in North Carolina than in other states, and failure to pay some of the cost of foster care came up in court proceedings in 30% of court cases where parents permanently lost custody.
The change to the foster care regulations is part of a 30-page bill developed by various groups involved in the state’s child welfare system.