STAND. COM. REP. NO. 234
RE: S.B. No. 947
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Human Services, to which was referred S.B. No. 947 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO FAMILIES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to prohibit the disability of a parent or caregiver from being the sole factor in determining fitness as a foster parent, adoptive parent, guardian, person seeking custody or visitation, or provider of a safe family home.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Disability and Communications Access Board and LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Human Services.
Your Committee finds that in family court cases, the court will make a determination based on the welfare of a child. However, there is no express prohibition against considering the disability of a parent or caregiver as the sole factor in determining fitness as a foster parent, adoptive parent, guardian, person seeking custody or visitation, or provider of a safe family home. This measure protects the right to parent for all individuals with disabilities and enables the court to make a determination based on the best interests of the child, as well as the family unit as a whole.
Your Committee has amended this measure by specifying that the party attempting to demonstrate that a disability impairs another person's ability to parent in foster parent, adoptive parent, guardian, custody or visitation, or safe family home cases must prove that the person's disability is a factor and demonstrate a clear nexus between the person's disability and the alleged parental deficiency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Human Services that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 947, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 947, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services,
RUSSELL E. RUDERMAN, Chair