A new bill has been proposed in Florida that would allow for foster care programs to allow children to remain within the system until they are 21, and it would also allow for other financial assistance and educational opportunities to continue to exist. Under our current child custody system, many foster children do not have the job skills to survive financially by the time they are being asked to leave the home.
Often children are not ready to leave home by the time they turn 18-years old. The risk is even higher for foster children that often have had no stable home or been provided any sort of financial or emotional support while growing up. Advocates have complained for years that the system has been inadequate in providing these foster children with what they need.
In recent years, approximately 5,000 Florida foster children will turn 18-years old. The new legislation would create a transitional plan for these children and make certain that they are provided with the resources to make a go of adulthood.
Many family law attorneys are driven by the desire to do what is best for the children. That can mean placing these children in a place that will best meet their needs.
The downside of this legislation is that there simply may not be enough foster homes available the way it is. There also may be a disconnect in the system where parents that wish to adopt or bring foster children into their home are unaware of all of the opportunities that exist.
Source: The Tampa Tribune, “New law supports foster children leaving system,” by Keith Morelli, May 5, 2013