Testimony Before The Senate Judiciary Committee
House Bill 1109 - Custodians of minor children under the Uniform Juvenile Court Act
February 15, 2005
Chairman DeKrey and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am Julie Hoffman, Administrator of Adoption Services for the N.D. Department of Human Services. I am here today to present testimony in favor of the passage of HB 1109.
The Department at the request of the Attorney General's office drafted House Bill 1109. It had been noted that there were a number of cases where the Department, a proposed custodian of a child, was not given notice prior to the termination of parental rights hearing. In at least two cases, the Department appealed the resulting order, due to language that was not acceptable in the termination of parental rights order. Had notice and a copy of the petition been provided prior to the hearing, an appeal may not have been required.
Essentially, this bill will require that notice be given to any proposed custodian of a child in a proceeding under the Uniform Juvenile Court Act. This would include, in addition to the Department, any county social service office or child placing agency. The party initiating the action will give the notice. This would allow the proposed custodian to respond to the petition, if so desired.
The Department supports the passage of HB 1109. I would be happy to answer any program questions of the committee.