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Bipartisan legislation filed advocating for children of military families in the First State

Lawmakers are at work at Legislative Hall to create a legal recreational marijuana industry.
Delaware Public Media
Lawmakers are at work at Legislative Hall to create a legal recreational marijuana industry.

Delaware legislators file two bills advocating for equitable treatment of children of military families in the education and justice system.

Under current law, children under the age of 18 are subject to federal jurisdiction if they commit a crime on a military installation, meaning they are often tried as adults and lack access to juvenile-focused resources.

State Rep. Nnamdi Chukwuocha (D-Wilmington) is proposing legislation to give Delaware’s Family Court system concurrent jurisdiction over crimes involving juveniles on military installations in the state.

“Other places have it, and the federal government through the military, Department of Defense – they’re actually spearheading this. So they’re trying to get more states to do it. It’s fairer for children to be in a Family Court system rather than in the military court system," Chukwuocha said.

Chukwuocha is also introducing a bill that would give children of military members and full-time Delaware National Guard members priority in choice and charter school enrollment.

“So if a military connected parent is redeployed or stationed in Delaware, their child can have preference in terms of being placed inside one of our choice of charter schools," he said.

Current priority is given to returning students, students who reside in the designated feeder pattern of a school and siblings of current students.

Both bills await consideration in the House Judiciary and House Education Committee, respectively.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.