Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Default approach shouldn’t be terminating parental rights, bill supporters say

Offering an alternative to terminating parental rights, expressing a preference for placement with family and keeping with best practices when children cannot be returned to their parents are the goals of HF3159.

Sponsored by Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL-St. Paul), it was approved, as amended, by the House Human Services Finance and Policy Committee Tuesday on a 10-7 party-line vote and sent to the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee.

Minnesota is one of a few states which statutorily expresses a preference for termination of parental rights before considering other permanency options. This causes a procedural roadblock where lawyers must demonstrate termination of parental rights is not the best option, according to a summary of the proposal by the Institute to Transform Child Protection.

The bill would require preference be given to permanency options with relatives and would remove the presumption that a termination of parental rights is the first option for all children, thereby making transfer of custody and adoption equally valid options.

Courts could still terminate parental rights if it is deemed to in the best interests of the child.

A termination of parental rights permanently severs a child’s relationship with their parents and can also sever a child’s relationship with their friends, extended family members and their community, said Hannah Burton, former social worker and current law student at Hamline University. She said the bill would be consistent with research showing that placement with relatives provides better outcomes

Additionally, Burton claims the bill would address a racial difference. Current practice, she said disproportionally impacts children of color, who are more likely to see their parents’ rights terminated and are less likely to be adopted.


Related Articles

Priority Dailies

House passes tax package that includes rebate checks, $1 billion in new revenues
Rep. Aisha Gomez and House Majority Leader Jamie Long talk during a break in the May 20 debate on HF1938, the tax finance and policy bill. (Photo by Catherine Davis) Is it the largest tax cut in Minnesota history? Or the biggest tax hike the state has ever experienced? Could it be both? That’s the crux of the debate about the conference ...
House passes finalized cannabis legalization bill, sends it to Senate
A supporter of cannabis legalization demonstrates in front of the Capitol in 2021. The House repassed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis, as amended in conference committee, May 18 and sent HF100 to the Senate. (House Photography file photo) The House gave the green light to adult-use recreational cannabis Thursday. “The day has finally arrived. Today is the day that we are going to vote here in the House for th...

Minnesota House on Twitter