Demand to change law blamed for infant deaths

Demand to change law blamed for infant deaths 1

The Keeping Families Together Act, also referred to as House Bill 1227, was put into effect in July with the primary aim of safeguarding low-income families.

The legislation sought to make it harder for child protective services to separate children from their homes. However, this law has generated significant controversy and has given rise to apprehensions regarding the well-being of children in precarious circumstances.

Critics argue that the act may inadvertently compromise the safety of vulnerable children by impeding the ability of child protective services to intervene in situations where abuse or neglect is present.

As a result, the implementation of the Keeping Families Together Act has sparked a heated debate surrounding the balance between preserving family unity and ensuring the welfare of at-risk children.

The Controversy

A group of local foster parents recently gathered on the steps of the state’s capitol to voice their concerns and demand the repeal of House Bill 1227.

They argue that the law’s requirement of proof of imminent physical harm or risk is extremely difficult to fulfill, ultimately putting children in foster care at risk. These foster parents believe that the law needs to be revised to ensure the safety and well-being of the children in their care.

Their concerns were further exacerbated by a tragic incident in Port Townsend, where the death of a child has been attributed to the law.

The Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) had left the infant in the care of his father, who was a known drug addict without stable housing.

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This incident has raised serious questions about the effectiveness of the Keeping Families Together Act, which aims to prioritize family preservation over removal of children from their homes.

The foster parents argue that the law’s requirement of proof of imminent physical harm or risk is nearly impossible to fulfill, making it difficult for them to protect the children in their care.

They believe that the law should be revised to prioritize the safety and well-being of the children, rather than focusing solely on family preservation.

The tragic incident in Port Townsend serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of this law, and the foster parents are determined to bring about change to protect vulnerable children.

Foster Parents Speak Out

Foster parents Tracie Jefferson and Tristan Fujita are expressing their worries about the law and its consequences on child safety. They firmly believe that change is imperative in order to prevent any more tragic incidents.

Despite the potential backlash they may face, these foster parents are speaking out because they are deeply passionate about the necessity for change. Their ultimate objective is to guarantee that no more children endure hardships as a result of the current law’s limitations.

Their dedication to this cause drives them to take risks and advocate for the well-being of foster children.

Legislative Response

Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self, the sponsor of the Keeping Families Together Act, acknowledges the concerns raised by foster parents regarding the potential risks associated with opioids, particularly fentanyl.

While she remains committed to her law, she also supports House Bill 2447, which aims to address the issue by defining opioids like fentanyl as an imminent risk that justifies the removal of a child from a potentially dangerous environment.

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Ortiz-Self believes that this bill will bring much-needed clarity and eliminate any ambiguity in determining when a child should be removed from such situations. The ultimate goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of every child, leaving no room for harm or danger.

The Path Forward

House Bill 2447 has passed the house and is now advancing through the Senate. Ortiz-Self is optimistic that this legislation will become law, addressing the concerns raised by foster parents and providing better protection for vulnerable children.

The Keeping Families Together Act has sparked controversy and raised concerns about child safety. Foster parents are demanding change, and legislators are responding with proposed legislation to address the shortcomings of the current law.

The goal is to strike a balance between protecting low-income families and ensuring the well-being of children in potentially dangerous situations.