Assembly passes bill that would change requirements for termination of parental rights


The Assembly today passed a bill on a voice vote that would change requirements for the involuntary termination of parental rights.

The bill, by Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, would eliminate a statutory requirement that a court find it likely that a parent in the next nine months would not be able to establish safe conditions for a child to return home before terminating parental rights.

Instead, the bill would only require a court to find a parent’s failure to establish living conditions for 15 of 22 months that a child has been living outside the home.

Proponents of the bill have said it would streamline the termination process to give children more stability. Opponents, such as the Wisconsin State Public Defender, counter it undermines due process for parents.

The bill now heads to the Senate.