The state senate votes to make chldren the lever that forces drugged-up parents into rehab. Senator Doug Libla of Poplar Bluff sees two problems: too many children spending too much time in foster care instead of having a permanent family, and too many parents with drug or alcohol problems or convictions who don’t get clean soon enough.

State law allows a juvenile officer to seek termination of parental rights after a child has been in foster care for a year. Libla says the parents, not the child, are the targets of his effort. “A lot of them wait 12 to 15 months before they ever get serious about getting drug rehab…If they can’t, then these kids deserve the opportunity to move on with their lives,” he says.

Libla says Missouri has 12,000 children in foster care who deserve to be in a stable family instead of being moved from foster home to foster home or, worse, sent back to parents whose condition is not improved so that they wind up in the foster home system again..

He admits his bill has some problems that need to be worked out, but they’re not serious enough to keep it from moving to the House.

AUDIO: Senate debate 15:21