Relatives Now Have Priority in Adoptions of Neglected Children

Child custody cases can be complex, especially when social services agencies are involved. However, the Minnesota Court of Appeals might have made matters less complex for relatives of neglected children placed in foster care.

The appeals court ruled that social services agencies in the state cannot deny relatives custody of children without “obtaining a court order.” Following the recent case, relatives will now have priority in custody placements involving neglected children.

The case began when the state denied a Minnesota grandmother’s petition for the adoption of her three grandchildren. After removing the children from their parent’s custody due to drug use, the state placed the children in foster care without notifying their grandmother.

According to the lawsuit, the state feared that the children’s grandmother would not be able to keep the parents from contacting the children. Until the recent court of appeals decision, this barrier prevented many family members from adopting neglected children across the state.

According to the Star Tribune, the new revisions ensure that state agencies “cannot automatically exclude relatives of abusive or neglectful parents in adoption proceedings.” Additionally, Minnesota law requires social service agencies to consider the placement of neglected children based on the following order:

  1. An “individual who is related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption.”
  2. And “an individual who is an important friend with whom the child has resided or had significant contact.”

If you are considering adoption, especially if it concerns the adoption of a neglected child, it can be beneficial to speak with an experienced family law attorney. Child custody and adoption cases can be extremely complicated and involve complex legal documents. A legal professional can ensure that your documentation is correct and guide you throughout the legal process.


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