Michigan Adoption Day Nov. 22

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Michigan families from Houghton to Cassopolis will celebrate the addition of new family members through adoption on the ninth annual Michigan Adoption Day.

In an Oct. 26 resolution, the Michigan Supreme Court designated Nov. 22 as Michigan Adoption Day, declaring that the event’s goal is “to draw attention to children and youth in foster care, particularly their need for permanent, loving families, and also to promote efforts to help those who remain in foster care.” Michigan Adoption Day is co-sponsored by the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS).

Held each year on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Michigan Adoption Day is aimed at highlighting issues for children and youth in foster care, including their need for permanent, loving homes. About 30 of Michigan’s 83 counties are expected to participate this year, finalizing an anticipated 200 adoptions on or about Nov. 22.

In addition to local events, the Supreme Court and DHS will co-host a program at the Michigan Hall of Justice in Lansing. Governor Rick Snyder is slated to speak along with DHS Director Maura D. Corrigan and Chief Justice Robert P.Young Jr. The Hall of Justice event will include finalizations of adoptions for families from Ingham and Ionia counties.

The Hall of Justice is also hosting the Heart Gallery this month. The Heart Gallery, a photographic exhibit of Michigan children waiting to be adopted, is a project of DHS’ Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange.

Anyone interested in adopting a child may call toll-free (888) 200-4005 or visit www.adoptuskids.org. For Spanish, call toll-free (877) 236-7831 or visit www.adopte1.org.

For more Adoption Day information, see www.courts.mi.gov/adoption-day.

- Source: The Michigan Supreme Court.

No SORA registration for Romeo & Juliet offenders

In November 2009, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that so-called Romeo & Juliet offenders1 who had their sentences expunged through the Holmes Youthful Training Act didn’t have to register for the sex offender list. (See “Court remands ‘Romeo and Juliet’ ruling.)

1 A Romeo & Juliet offender is a person accused of statutory rape for having sex with a girlfriend or boyfriend under 16 years of age.

In that decision, the Court ruled that forcing “a person who engaged in [consensual] sexual activity with a teen” was cruel and unusual punishment, and thus, unconstitutional.

But the decision left some question as to whether it applied to just R&J offenders under the Holmes Act, or all such offenders.

Now, the Michigan Legislature has solved the problem, passing a bill that would remove the registration requirement in such a situation if the person is less than four years older than the person with whom they were charged for having consensual sex. [Detroit Free Press]

Governor Rick Snyder signed the bill Tuesday. The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, will only apply to cases in which the victim was 13-15 years old.