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‘Bill of Rights’ for foster care sibling protection gets House support

Sasha Martin gets a hug from Breanna Buckhalton as she is overcome with emotion after the House passed HF3265 which would, in part, establish a foster care sibling bill of rights. The two grew up in foster care and worked with legislators to bring about changes to the system. Photo by Paul Battaglia

A so-called “bill of rights” to help ensure siblings in foster care get to visit each other cleared the House Wednesday.

HF3265, sponsored by Rep. Ron Kresha (R-Little Falls), was passed 120-0. It now goes to the Senate where Sen. Jerry Relph (R-St. Cloud) is the sponsor

The bill would establish a set of rights for foster care children, including the right to be placed with their siblings when possible and to visit their siblings.

Child welfare agency staff would be required to give a copy of the bill of rights to children upon entry into foster care. The bill does not specify any ramifications if the rights are violated.

Current law requires at least one hour of the annual training requirement for foster family license holder and caregivers, and foster residence staff must be on children's mental health issues and treatment. The bill would require at least one hour of training on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders per year, which must be counted towards the 12 hours of annual training required.

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