(Host) The chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court on Friday urged state human service officials, judges and lawyers to work more closely together on foster care cases involving younger children. Justice Jeffrey Amestoy spoke at a special conference in Montpelier that was held to bring together virtually every group that deals with the resolution of foster care cases.
At this time, roughly 1,600 children are in the custody of the state. Most have been taken from their homes after their parents were charged with child abuse or negligence. Amestoy says it’s very important for all the participants in the process to discuss ways to resolve cases involving younger children in a more timely manner:
(Amestoy) “And what we want to focus on particularly are children under the age of seven. Because I think you don’t need the social science to tell you what each of us knows to a moral certainty, and particularly if one is a parent: That even the very earliest age is a time of tremendous risk for a child. And to the extent that we can move these cases along, ensure that the kids are in safe homes, that’s something that benefits all Vermonters.”
(Host) Amestoy is hoping that most cases where children are reunited with their parents can be resolved in 12 months and a majority of adoption cases be can finalized in 24 months.