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Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Bills to Protect Foster Kids, Bolster Election Access

LANSING – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed several bipartisan bills to increase protections for foster youth and remove barriers for families interested in adopting or fostering a child. She also signed legislation to expand voting access for troops and authorize local clerks to pre-process absentee ballots two days before Election Day. This brings the total number of bipartisan bills Governor Whitmer has signed since taking office to 959.

"These bipartisan bills deliver on a range of kitchen-table issues and are proof of what's possible when we work across the aisle to put Michiganders first," said Governor Whitmer. "Together, we are taking action to protect Michigan's foster youth by offering them more permanent homes and improving training for the professionals who work with them. We are increasing capacity at high-quality residential facilities, and conducting thorough assessments to ensure foster children's needs are being met. Finally, we are also expanding voting access for Michiganders who are serving our nation in uniform and authorizing local clerks to pre-process absentee ballots two days before Election Day. Let's keep working together to protect kids and help more people exercise their constitutional right to vote."

Protecting Foster Youth

"Our child welfare system took a huge step forward today with the signing of these bills into law. Several of these bills expand the definition of relative," said Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township). "With this in place, if no blood relative is available to foster a child, then someone with close emotional ties can be considered instead of the child going to a stranger. I am so appreciative of the work that my colleagues on the Adoption and Foster Care Task Force did to help the children of our state as well as Governor Whitmer's support."

"I'm grateful that my bill to require LGALs participate in trauma-informed training will now be law," said Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia). "It's important that those tasked with advocating for our foster youth understand their experiences and needs as best they can."

"Today marks a significant step in the right direction toward better supporting Michigan's foster care and adoption systems," said Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing). "These substantial, effective, and long overdue changes will directly benefit foster youth across the state. As a member of the bipartisan task force that helped develop these bills, I am confident and proud that this legislation prioritized the needs of this uniquely vulnerable population and those who serve them."

"It is great to see this bi-partisan legislative package updating Michigan's foster care laws signed into law, including my bill SB 1166," said Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington). "Enactment of this legislative package is a step in the right direction to help the kids served by the foster care system and we should continue working to find additional improvements."


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