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A "Terminations of Parental Rights Act" designed to expedite adoptions of children who are in temporary foster care for indeterminate lengths of time, won approval from a senate panel Tuesday afternoon. The act would apply to children who have been placed in the custody of the Division of Family Services.

Substitute SB74, sponsored by Sen. Eldon A. Money, D-Spanish Fork, is necessary to protect children who might otherwise be returned to unhealthy homes, according to proponents. Besides setting a time line - 12 months - for a dispositional hearing on the issue, it outlines who may file for termination of the parent-child relationship and lists specific grounds for termination of parental rights.If parental rights are terminated, the bill mandates a review hearing in 90 days, unless the child is in a permanent placement.

Barbara Thompson, director of the division, said that there are about 130 children who are waiting for parental deprivation hearings, but the process is bottlenecked by a lack of attorneys to press the issue. Money said that in Utah County the courts are 48 cases behind and prosecutors are backlogged.

If the bill passes in the Senate, it will likely be held from a vote in the House until the end of the session because it contains a fiscal note.