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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.735

Introduced by Representative Lorber of Burlington

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Human services; criminal justice system; children’s bill of rights

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to establish a bill of rights for children of parents who are arrested or incarcerated.

AN ACT RELATING TO A BILL OF RIGHTS FOR CHILDREN OF ARRESTED AND INCARCERATED PARENTS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  33  V.S.A. chapter 51 is added to read:

Chapter 51. RIGHTS OF CHILDREN

§ 4951.  CHILDREN OF ARRESTED AND INCARCERATED PARENTS;

               BILL OF RIGHTS

(a)  It is the policy of the state of Vermont to afford certain rights to children at the time of arrest, trial, and incarceration of a parent.  These children have committed no crime, yet they pay a steep penalty.  They often forfeit their homes, their safety, their public status and private self-image, and their primary source of comfort and affection.  Their lives are profoundly affected by multiple agencies involved in the criminal justice system including the department of public safety, courts, prosecutors and defenders, the corrections system, the child welfare system, and probation and parole officers.  Therefore, it shall be the policy of the state of Vermont that criminal justice and child welfare agencies shall take responsibility for the care of children at the time of arrest and incarceration of their parents.

(b)  A child of an arrested or incarcerated parent shall have the following rights:

(1)  To be kept safe and informed at the time of the parent’s arrest.

(2)  To be heard when others are making decisions about the child.

(3)  To be considered when others are making decisions about the parent.

(4)  To be well cared for in the parent’s absence.

(5)  To speak with, see, and touch the parent.

(6)  To be supported during the parent’s incarceration.

(7)  To be free of judgment, blame, or labeling due to the parent’s incarceration.

(8)  To have a lifelong relationship with the parent.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us