Saturday, October 24, 2009

The needs of foster children don't decrease during a recession - they only multiply

Letter to the Editor: Fostering Care
San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 19, 2009.


Like so many other state responsibilities, foster care fell by the wayside earlier this year while Sacramento fought over the budget. But the needs of foster children - our children - don't disappear because of a recession, so we were pleased to see that several foster care bills were signed into law.

AB131 was sponsored by the Judicial Council of California and authored by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa. It would require parents who can afford it to reimburse the state for court-appointed counsel in a dependency case. Another Evans bill to receive the governor's signature was AB154, which brings California in line with the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act. The new law doubles financial incentives to adopt foster children who are older or have special needs.

But the governor should have signed Evans' third bill, AB82. The bill would have established safeguards for foster children being prescribed psychotropic medications. Such medications can be dangerous. Ordinarily, a child's parent would provide this kind of support.

It's unfair that the governor has chosen to abdicate this responsibility for the children we're raising collectively.

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