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Senate passes bill to keep siblings together in foster care

Bills requiring child-placing agencies to make reasonable efforts to keep siblings together in the foster care and adoption systems have advanced in Michigan's Legislature.

The Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to send the legislation to the House for its consideration.

The bills say if siblings could not be placed together due to safety or other concerns, agencies should prioritize sibling visitation and interaction.

State agencies already place siblings together when feasible under provisions of federal court oversight of Michigan's child welfare system.

The legislation would codify requirements in state law and extend them to local agencies run by community mental health agencies, circuit courts and counties.

Another bill approved Tuesday would require frequent visitations between foster children and their biological parents unless a judge determines it would be harmful.

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