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SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1704         FILED ON: 1/18/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 657

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Katherine M. Clark

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to foster child engagement.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Katherine M. Clark

Fifth Middlesex

F. Jay Barrows

1st Bristol

Danielle W. Gregoire

4th Middlesex

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex

Theodore C. Speliotis

13th Essex

Carlos Henriquez

5th Suffolk

Kate Hogan

3rd Middlesex

David M. Rogers

24th Middlesex

Angelo M. Scaccia

14th Suffolk

Brian R. Mannal

2nd Barnstable

William N. Brownsberger

Second Suffolk and Middlesex

Brian A. Joyce

Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth

Walter F. Timilty

7th Norfolk

Matthew A. Beaton

11th Worcester


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1704        FILED ON: 1/18/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 657

By Ms. Clark, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 657) of Katherine M. Clark, F. Jay Barrows, Danielle W. Gregoire, Tom Sannicandro and other members of the General Court for legislation relative to foster child engagement.  The Judiciary. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act relative to foster child engagement.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. Section 21 of chapter 119 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following new definition:-

              “Distant Relatives”, any blood relative, spouse of a blood relative or godparent of a child who is not the father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, or grandparent.

              SECTION 2. Subsection (c) of section 29B of chapter 119, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding after the first sentence, the following new sentence:-

              Upon the first annual permanency hearing, after the permanency plan has been categorized as clause (ii) of subsection (a) of this section, the department shall treat all distant relatives of the child or young adult in the same manner as any other non-related prospective adoptive resource and shall not allow any obscure relative to hinder the pre-adoptive permanency placement or adoption process of the child or young adult.

              SECTION 3. Section 29B of chapter 119, as so appearing, is hereby amended in subsection (c)  by striking, in line 29, the figure “16” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- “10”.

              SECTION 4. Said section 29B of chapter 119 is hereby further amended in subsection (d) by added after the first sentence, the following new sentence:- 

              The court shall hear from a foster child who has attained age 10 in an age appropriate manner.

              SECTION 5. Section 24 of chapter 119, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting in the fourth paragraph after the second sentence, in line 41, the following sentences:-

              The judge who presides over the initial hearing shall preside over all future hearings related to the child until the case is resolved or dismissed. This may include entertaining testimony by a video communication. Nothing in this law shall preclude changing the assignment of a case to, or matters being heard by, a different judge in the interests of justice.

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