This week marked the second week of the 2022 legislative session. As both House and Senate committees continued to meet, the Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs introduced committee bill SB 7034 relating to Child Welfare. This legislation seeks to improve benefits for foster families and relative caregivers and is aligned to priorities articulated by Senate President Wilton Simpson, (R-Tribly) in his opening day remarks. Through a Senate press release committee Chair Ileana Garcia, (R-Miami) stated:
“Across our state, we have so many dedicated relatives who are willing to step up to the plate and take on the responsibility of raising a child. Whether it is the level of monthly support needed to feed, clothe, and shelter a child, or access to the college tuition waiver, these heroic family members should have the same level of benefit as a foster family,” said Chair Garcia. “Likewise, the costs of out-of-home daycare, which we require for children in the dependency system, have been identified as a major barrier for families interested in fostering children. This bill closes the gap between what the Early Learning Coalition voucher pays and the actual cost of care.”
Read the full Senate press release here.
We also saw HB 15 regarding Children with Developmental Delays introduced by Representative Allison Tant, (D- Tallahassee). This legislation amends the definition of “Exceptional Student” to include children with developmental delays up to the age of 9 years old or through the completion of 2nd grade. Read the full staff analysis of this bill here.
Next week the Senate Education Committee will take up SB 1700 relating to School Readiness Funding by Senator Joe Gruters, (R- Sarasota) and the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will take up HB 195 relating to Juvenile Diversion Program Expunction by Representative David Smith, (R- Winter Springs).
Until next week!
The Florida Alliance of Children’s Councils & Trusts