An effort to speed up the termination of parental rights of parents who are into drugs has been slowed down in the state senate. Poplar Bluff Senator Doug Libla wants to pressure parents facing drug charges to get clean by making it easier to declare them unfit parents. He says it’s an effort to keep children of druggies from languishing in foster care for months before the children can be placed in permanent homes.
Libla says less than twenty percent of parents ordered into drug treatment programs as ways to get their children back complete the program. “Worse than that,” he says, “forty percent of the substance abusing mothers whose children were in state custody never entered in the first place….and forty percent of those that actually entered failed to complete it.”
While one part of his bill allows immediate termination of parental rights for the mother of a newborn if she or the child tests positive for drug or alcohol abuse, it says nothing about the rights of the father. And that has become a stumbling block. Kansas city Senator Jolie Justus, who has handled many parental rights cases, says that’s an invitation to litigation and might raise constutional questions. Libla has set his bill aide for more study.
The measure is SCS/SB350