Thursday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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Supreme Court says Overseas Custody Fight can Continue, CNN

The Supreme Court gave unanimous support to an American father’s court fight to regain custody of his daughter living overseas, saying the case is still active even if the child is out of the country.

This decision could establish important precedent on the discretion of U.S. courts to decide where youngsters caught in parental fights should stay. It also addresses a key question at the intersection of American and international law.

“This dispute is very much alive,” the justices said in their ruling.

The jurisdictional matter before the high court involved a U.S. Army sergeant from Alabama and his Scottish-born wife, who returned alone to her home country with their daughter, Eris.

Panel Endorses Overhaul of Georgia’s Juvenile Justice System, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A massive bill that would turn everything upside down in Georgia’s juvenile justice system passed its first legislative hurdle Tuesday: a committee vote.

The 244-page bill would cut the number of child offenders housed in detention centers and create community-based programs to address the problems that led the youngster to crime. It’s also expected to save the state tens of millions of dollars per year.

The legislation is a reversal of an approach to get tough on “young thugs” — as Gov. Zell Miller called them — that began in the 1990s, a period when laws were adopted with significant time for all criminals, no matter their ages.

“The way we’re doing things now is not good for the children, so we’re altering those programs,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs. “It can’t be done overnight, but there will be steps taken incrementally.”

After Texas Boy’s Death, Russian Official Continues Call for Ban on Adoptions, CNN

A Russian government child advocate said Wednesday he may have spoken too soon when he said a 3-year-old adopted boy who died in Texas was “killed” or “murdered.”

At a press conference Wednesday, Children’s Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov said he tweeted those words based on the initial reports he received about the death. With the investigation still going, he’s now simply saying the boy “died.”

Still he said, he wants his country to ban all international adoptions of Russian children.

Astakhov’s statement echoes others who have blasted the United States recently, and it continues an ongoing adoption battle between the once-Cold War foes.

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