Monday, March 30, 2009

Legislation by Sen. Rich Garners Seniors and Children Greater Safety Net

Foster care children and seniors in Florida came a step closer to improved protections with the passage on Wednesday of a series of bills sponsored by Senator Nan Rich (D-Weston).

The legislation, passed unanimously by the Senate Children & Families, would do the following:

· SB 1128 ensures that children with disabilities receiving an education while in DCF custody have a surrogate parent appointed to act in the place of a parent in making educational decisions and safeguarding the child’s educational rights.

· SB 2240 authorizes and directs the Governor to execute an updated Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) on behalf of Florida. The ICPC provides a uniform set of regulations meant to ensure that children placed across state lines for purposes of adoption or foster care are placed with individuals who are safe, suitable, and able to provide proper care.

· SB 666 authorizes counties to create by ordinance an independent special district to provide senior services countywide. In order to levy ad valorem taxes to fund the independent special district, the county governing body must obtain approval from the majority of electors in the county voting. These provisions are modeled on similar statutory provisions Children’s Services Districts.

“Where society is weakest we’ve tightened the safety net,” said Rich, a passionate advocate for children and the elderly. “These bills improve the future for our children and the present for our seniors. We owe them both our full legislative support.”

SB 1128 and SB 2240 will now head to the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 666 next heads to the Senate Finance and Tax Committee.

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