By: Matt Horn
State lawmakers recently passed “Lets Kids Be Kids” bill, focusing on allowing foster children to live lives as similar to their peers as possible.
State lawmakers were in Washington trying to help reform the national foster care.
19-year-old Martan Gordon is adjusting to life after being in Florida’s foster care system for more than eight years. “It was basically go to school come home or group home. Wherever I was and that was basically my life,” said Gordon.
Laws had forced kids and their foster care families to get approval from social workers and judges on nearly every decision made, creating a feeling of isolation. “We have bubble wrapped these kids and deprived them of any kind of normalcy when it comes to childhood,” said Senator Nancy Detert.
Federal lawmakers listened to Florida’s new bill giving insight on possible changes at the federal level. “States might examine a law Florida enacted just this year, that is to ensure that foster youth are treated like every other child,” said U.S. Representative Dave Reichert.
Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, David Wilkins says the strict rules made it difficult for not only kids in the system, but the adults trying to help those children. “Foster parents are burdened with paper work, court responsibilities, and jobs responsibilities all surrounding protecting the child,” he said.
Now federal officials are looking to Florida to see what changes to make so foster kids everywhere feel some sense of normalcy while living in the system.