Meade’s Foster Child ‘Bill of Rights’ Signed Into Law

Published 11:56 am Thursday, June 13, 2019

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KY House of Representative
Press release

FRANKFORT — After passage of sweeping reforms to Kentucky’s foster care and adoption systems sponsored by Speaker Pro Tem David Meade in 2018, the Governor has signed into law Meade’s measure to grant statutory rights to Kentucky foster children and speed up adoption placements.

Notably, the legislation creates a “Foster Child Bill of Rights,” a list of 16 explicit rights which include the right to adequate food, clothing and shelter, a quality education, and a safe and stable family. Other critical rights granted to foster children include ensuring that they will be involved throughout the process of their placement and case file being worked on, if the child so chooses. The measure sends a message to foster children that basic necessities are not luxuries, but essential components to a happy, healthy upbringing.

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“I’m proud to see this ambitious bill signed into law, as it is yet another component of our efforts to make Kentucky the nation’s gold standard for foster care and adoption,” Meade, who represents Lincoln and part of Pulaski County, said. “No child in need should ever slip through the cracks. These reforms will ensure that we are prioritizing taking care of the children who reside in state care.”

Meade’s bill also shortens the period a parent or guardian can revoke their consent to place a child for adoption from 20 days to three days. The current 20-day revocation period keeps both potential adoptive parents and the child in limbo, and adoption advocates cite it as a significant barrier to getting children into loving homes in a timely manner.

“Making adoptions final three days after consent will further incentivize potential parents to adopt and improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable children,” Meade, an adoptive father, added.

HB 158 also puts Kentucky in compliance with federal law, the Family First Prevention Services Act, by requiring national and state background checks for staff of child-placement facilities. The measure also ensures that children placed in residential treatment facilities are subject to timely case reviews.

Meade will continue his efforts to make Kentucky a national leader in child welfare as co-chairman of the Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee. He also serves as Speaker Pro-Tempore of the House of Representatives, a constitutional position in the General Assembly.

HB 158 will take effect on June 27, 2019.