Governor plans to veto child welfare bill inspired by Isabella ‘Ariel’ Kalua case
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The governor announced his intent to veto 30 bills. Among them, a bill that would put more eyes on adoptive families, also known as ‘Ariel’s bill.’
Governor David Ige said he supports the intent of the legislation but that he isn’t certain the balance is there for loving and supportive homes.
“This bill has serious legal concerns,” the governor said in a press conference.
Nearly a year after the Waimanalo girl was last seen alive, the measure intended to protect adopted children like her appears doomed.
That’s because while House Bill 2424 would give the Child Welfare system extra resources and funding, it would also let social workers respond to complaints about any foster or adoptive family, even after parents become legal guardians.
“This bill requires monitoring and surveillance of all families who have adopted or taken guardianship of former foster children so that the families can never live free of government intrusion in their lives, or right which all other families often take for granted,” said Ige.
Ryan Yamane, chair of the House’s Health Human Services and Homeless Committee, said the governor’s response was unexpected.
“We felt on this one, that because our keiki was at risk that these resources would outweigh the value and the impact to our children,” Yamane said. “And so this one was a little bit of a surprise.”
Attorney Randall Rosenberg, who represents many abuse victims, was also disappointed.
“Let’s protect the children first and then deal with any infringement of privacy after that,” he said.
Kimeona Kane, chair of the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board where the community is still waiting for Ariel’s adoptive parents to go to trial, said his neighborhood will continue to fight for change.
“Disappointed, but also re-energized, re-encouraged,” he said. “This is not the end of our involvement in this process, or certainly not the end of the work that we have slated before us.”
The governor has until July 12 to make final decisions.
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