Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) introduced Friday a bill that would provide more funding for CNMI courts to ensure the welfare of children in foster care and adoption proceedings.
Sablan disclosed in his e-kilili newsletter over the weekend that under H.R. 8233 or the Court Improvement Equity Act that he introduced, CNMI courts would be allowed to apply for a $255,000 basic state-share of grant money for this purpose.
The legislation would authorize grants to be made on an equitable basis to highest courts to assess and improve the handling of foster care and adoption proceedings.
He said the Marianas is currently the only U.S. jurisdiction not able to apply for child welfare court improvement grants under the Social Security Act.
Sablan said his legislation was developed in consultation with the Commonwealth Judiciary.
“My advocacy on behalf of the bill is supported by their plans on how the funds would be used to improve training for temporary guardians, increase staff capacity, and collect data that can be shared with other relevant agencies in the Marianas,” said Sablan, as he thanked the CNMI Judiciary for working together with him on this legislation.