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Educational requirements coming to Florida’s foster care system

 

Senate Bill 272, named the “Nancy C. Detert Champion for Children Act,” now requires education on important and necessary laws for youth in foster care.

The bill, which passed unanimously in Florida’s legislature and was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday, makes it mandatory for case managers to teach foster care children on various legislation every six months, like safety, education, contact with siblings, normalcy and access to food, shelter and healthcare.

Florida Youth SHINE (FYS), which is a support group for foster care in the state, is supported by Florida’s Children First. The group has advocated for change and is run by people who are or were in Florida’s child welfare system.

““This is truly a life-changing bill,” Executive Director of Florida’s Children First Geori Seldine said. “Now every child in the system will be educated about the laws and their rights in an age-appropriate way.”

According to a report from May, about 35 percent of Florida’s foster children receive Chafee Program funding — funding that is meant to help youth and young adults transition to adulthood as they reach the foster care age limit.

Ages 14-to-21 are eligible for those funds, according to Florida’s Children First news release.

“As someone who grew up in the system, I know how scary and confusing child welfare can be,” Administrative Chair of FYS Kyle Johnson said. “Florida has great laws meant to help children and young adults, but they don’t do any good if youth don’t know about them.”

The recently signed bill was named after the late state Senator Nancy C. Detert, who died in April.\

During her tenure, she advocated for and helped pass multiple laws aimed at protecting the rights of children in foster care.

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