Balsam Lake WI – With help from Representative Rob Stafsholt (R – New Richmond), the Speaker’s Task Force on Adoption held a hearing in Balsam Lake on July 25. It is the first hearing this year to take place in Northwest Wisconsin.
“It’s not every day that legislators come to our area of the state,” said Representative Stafsholt. “I am very pleased that Representatives from both sides of the aisle understand that adoption is not just a Madison issue, but an issue that many rural families in Northwest Wisconsin have worked to shed light on for many years.”
The hearing this week featured speakers from the Polk County Sheriff’s office, the Polk County Children and Families Department, members of the Ho-Chunk Nation, the Catholic Charities, and various members of the public.
“It’s great to hear from such a well-rounded group of people with wide experiences on the issue of adoptions,” said Representative Stafsholt. “In the end, we are all working towards the same goal; to ensure that every child has a family to call their own and to be loved. It sounds simple enough, but there are barriers that need to be broken down to ensure our end goal is met.”
“I would especially like to thank Terry Hawkins, a constituent of mine who came to testify today,” said Representative Stafsholt. “Terry’s story of adoption is one that will have long lasting effects on the committee, and will certainly guide me when crafting legislation in the future.”
Legislators on the task force will examine the termination of parental rights; identify ways to shorten the timeline for adoptions; evaluate the costs of adoption and ways to reduce the amount; and increase awareness and resources pertaining to adoption. Earlier this year, hearings were held in Madison and Green Bay. Further statewide hearings will continue throughout the summer.
“Public input, especially from those in my own backyard, is important and will help the task force craft legislation to promote adoption across the state,” said Representative Stafsholt. “I thank all that came out to the hearing today. It is tough for everyday citizens to make the trek to Madison for hearings like these. I hope to bring more hearings to our area of the state in the future.”
Representative Stafsholt represents the 29th Assembly District, which includes portions of eastern St. Croix County and western Dunn County.