March 14, 2020

West Virginia Senate Passes Foster Care Bill

West Virginia Senate Passes Foster Care bill. The bill allows foster parents who adopt children with special needs may soon get more money. As part of the wide-ranging proposal passed Friday by the West Virginia Senate to reduce the state’s overburdened foster care system.

Bi-Partisan Vote Moves The Bill Forward

Senators unanimously voted to approve the proposal. So, now it moves back to the House of Delegates for that chamber to approve the Senate’s amendments.

The measure sets aside $16.9 million with plans to distribute funds through a tiered system. Additional funding is set for adoptive parents of children with emotional, behavioral or intellectual problems. Republican Sen. Charles Trump says,

There are some children for whom it is very hard to find foster parents. Let’s spend more money to help a family who might be willing to take one or two with severe problems.

The tiered system will start in July 2021. Adoptive agencies also benefit from the new measure. They are projected to receive $1,000 every time they finalize an adoption.

Foster Care Bill of Rights Expansion

The bill also contains a foster care bill of rights for both children and parents. At least 15 states have enacted bills establishing a foster children’s bill of rights and 17 have foster parent bill of rights, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The measure states children in care must have a safe environment, free of sexual and physical abuse, with adequate and healthy food. Foster parents would be entitled to receive training and have contact with the child-placing agency and know about the child’s behavior, health, and needs before the child is adopted. Sen Rollan Roberts said,

We’ve done something very good here. It’s such a great necessity. It’s been many years and coming.

A View at West Virginia Foster Care

West Virginia’s foster care ranks have dramatically swelled during the national opioid epidemic. As of February, there are 7151 children in the system, compared with 4,254 in 2015, according to state records.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, we hope that more states follow West Virginia’s foster care reform. Children in care deserve respect and a chance at a happy, healthy life.

So, you’re interested in helping foster youth? Join us here.

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