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  • Democrats Interested in Protecting Child Victims
    by Elizabeth Roberts, Utah House Democratic Caucus
    Published - 03/03/14 - 03:31 PM | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Protecting children
    Protecting children
    slideshow
    (SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) - House Bill 318 passed the House floor against the wishes of many legislators, who view the bill as another window to re-victimize children whose parents face losing their parental rights. The bill, which allows parents to request a jury trial when their parental rights may be severed, could require children to possibly testify in court in front of the very people the state considers a threat.

    Representative Tim Cosgrove spoke following the vote, "It simply isn't right to force a child to look at a parent who they love, but who has hurt them, and force them to relive horrific trauma. This bill does not end up protecting families, but inadvertently protects individuals who are accused of abuses so egregious that their children have been taken away. I cannot see how this is a step in the right direction."

    Currently, the process to review and terminate parental rights goes through the juvenile court system and is conducted by judges educated in issues that are common to families in which abuse occurs. Representative Cosgrove again, "There are other alternatives, better alternatives, like the benefits of a family court, that can shield children already struggling with the difficult lives they have led. This is not the answer to protect our vulnerable and youngest victims. States that have already attempted jury trials to terminate parental rights are now moving the other direction, or are finding the system extremely costly. This only allows parents more time to continue making the bad choices they have made, and keeps children in a dangerous and unsettling limbo."

    House bill 318 now goes to the Senate, and will face similar scrutiny from both sides of the aisle.

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