NC Values Calls on Governor Cooper to Extend Compassion and Support for Opioid Babies
“It is well past time for North Carolina to prioritize the protective care of our smallest and most innocent residents born with opioids in their system due to their mother’s untreated addictions while pregnant. The North Carolina Values Coalition has led a bipartisan effort to reach a commonsense solution to the crisis caused by drug addiction of pregnant women—expedite treatment, expedite finding family, expedite permanency. The ultimate goal is to place these children in stable, loving homes free of the detrimental influences of drug addition, by putting their best interests first. We call on Governor Cooper to sign the solution offered in House Bill 918 to bring permanency to a process that has bounced these children in and out of the foster care system for far too long.”
- Tami Fitzgerald, NC Values Coalition Executive Director
Notable Features of House Bill 918
- Prospective permanent placement within one year for children who enter state custody.
- Due diligence to locate and identify adult relatives within 30 days of a child entering state custody.
- Foster family with whom a child resides for at least nine months deemed non-relative kin and eligible for permanent placement of the child.
- Placement shall be based on the best interests of the child, including the attachment and developmental needs of the child.
- Toxic exposure to non-medical drugs in utero by the parent of a child shall constitute “aggravated circumstances,” in which case continued efforts for reunification shall not be required, unless the parent is enrolled in and is meeting or exceeding the benchmarks of a drug abuse treatment program.
- Foster family with whom a child has resided for at least 15 months may petition for termination of parental rights.