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Va. foster care teens can soon ask to reunite with birth parents

(Gov. Ralph Northam)

RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- Virginia's foster care children are now able to request to live with their birth parents or choose to stay in the foster care system.

Governor Ralph Northam signed HB 1219, which will go into law on July 1.

The law was introduced by Del. David Reid, D-Loudoun, who as a child lived in a foster home and was adopted.

The new law will allow foster children who are 14 and older the opportunity to tell a judge whether they want their birth parents to regain custody of them.

Doing so would allow the local social services to conduct an investigation of the parent, and if appropriate, restore parental rights

Reid was born and raised in Rockbridge County outside Lexington, Virginia. When he was six-years-old, Reid said, his mother left the family. His father tried his best to raise Reid, his sister and two brothers, but the children ended up being taken to United Methodist Family Services.

The goal of UMFS is to help high-risk children and families become self-sufficient members of their communities.

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