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Gov. Cooper signs child welfare reform bill

FILE - Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law a child welfare reform bill co-sponsored by a mountain lawmaker. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law a child welfare reform bill co-sponsored by a mountain lawmaker.

Rep. Brian Turner, D-Buncombe, said "Rylan’s Law" has bi-partisan support.

He said the law establishes social services regional supervision; requires written agreements, corrective action and state intervention with social services; reduces the time a parent can appeal from a termination of parental rights order and requires case workers to observe a parent’s interactions with a child twice before placing the child back in the home.

“And I think that's important,” Turner said, “especially over time, to be able to see some sort of consistency, some sort of pattern. We want to get children back with their parents. That's critical to the family unit. But we need to make sure that we're returning children to a family environment and a living environment that is safe,”

The law is named after Rylan Ott, a toddler who died last year after wandering away from his mother's home, drowning in a pond. A judge placed Rylan back in his mother's home months earlier despite a court advocate expressing concern the mother wasn't equipped to care for him. His death gave rise to the bill.

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