On December 4, the Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families held a public hearing on Senate Bill 232 relating to the termination of parental rights, rights of alleged fathers, and payments allowed in adoption. Oneida Nation member and Attorney, Michelle Gordon, testified in opposition of the bill in regards to the declaration of paternal interest. Under the bill, it would change current law to allow an alleged father to be entitled to a notice of TPR proceeding if that person has filed a declaration of paternal interest. Gordon argued that most people probably don't know that they can file a declaration of paternal interest which can be especially detrimental to tribes. "For a dad to not be potentially told, and this child goes through the system, that is a loss for us...it's just another way to diminish our numbers and for our tribe to slowly disappear, and our children for our tribes are our most important asset," Gordon said.
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