"Child's Best Hope Act".....New legislation that will benefit adopted childrenby St. Petersburg/Florida Family Law Attorney on 07/02/16
While we do not practice adoption law, nevertheless, this is an important topic that will have a major affect on adoption proceedings moving forward.
Under a new law that will take effect this month, known as the "Child's Best Hope Act," judges will have the power and ability to weigh the best interests of the child versus the old standard, which was the wishes of the birth parent(s).
Parents who were accused of murder, rape, battery, child abuse and child molestation who are sitting in jail, awaiting trial, were able to manipulate the system by surrendering their parental rights to whomever they choose. As long as the person whom the parent selected was able to pass an adoption agency home study, the judge's hands were tied. Take a look at the following example of how the old law was detrimental to the well being of a child... In April, a Broward judge ruled that a 5-year old boy would have to go live with a relative of the father's choosing, despite the fact that the child's biological father who is currently in jail, murdered the boy's mother. The mother's family was hoping to adopt him. However, because the mother is deceased, their family had no standing in the adoption case. So essentially, a murderer was able to choose whom his child would be placed with, as long as they passed a home study. With this new law in place, it's all about finding the child's best home, and in the end, as always, it's always about the child. We are now starting to see a shift, where parents' interest are being put to the side, in favor of what is best for the child(ren).