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155994 - In re Williams, Minors

​  In re Williams, Minors


Department of Health and Human Services,
John Paul Hunt
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Macomb – George, K.)
Vivek S. Sankaran


Respondent father of two minor children is a member of a federally recognized Indian Tribe. The children had been in foster care with the same family since 2012 and a petition to terminate respondent’s parental rights was pending in Macomb Family Court when respondent voluntarily released his parental rights in 2015. The family court entered an order terminating respondent’s parental rights. The foster family petitioned to adopt the children, but in 2016 the Oakland Family Court denied their petition. Within a month, respondent filed a notice with the Macomb Family Court purporting, under MCL 712B.13(3) of the Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act (MIFPA), to withdraw his consent to the termination of his parental rights. After a hearing, the family court held that respondent was not entitled to withdraw his release under § 13(3) because he had not released his children to a specific adoptive family. In a published per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed on different grounds. The Court of Appeals held that respondent had never executed a “consent” under MCL 712B.13(1) and, therefore, he was not entitled to invoke the subsection of that statute permitting withdrawal of that consent. The Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal to address whether respondent was entitled under the MIFPA to withdraw his consent to the termination of his parental rights for the purpose of adoption at any time before entry of a final order of adoption.  MCL 712B.13(3).