Representative Alan Williams has vocalized his support of HB 7013, the adoption and foster care bill presented by the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee and Health & Human Services Committee.
The legislation demands a lengthy list of requirements that will reshape certain policies and procedures.
Licensed child-placing agencies that provide services for international adoptions are now required to meet specified criteria. The legislation also requires an agreement between the Department of Children and Families and specified entities for the provision of educational services.
Community-based care lead agencies must contact the child's adoptive family by telephone within a specified period after the date that the adoption is finalized. Furthermore, the bill even calls for authorizing a direct-support organization established by the Office of Adoption and Child Protection to accept donations of products or services from private sources to be given to the recipients of the adoption achievement awards.
"Today, I voted for HB 7013 – Adoption and Foster Care on the House floor. I believe this bill will provide help to state employees with the opportunity to adopt children and provide Forever Families for children who need it the most. This is a first step for Florida to lead the way with an important state employee adoption benefit and lead by example for other government entities. This legislation is supportive of those state employees interested in adopting a child,” Representative Williams said in a statement he released to the public.
He believes the state has a responsibility to invest in the lives of foster children and advocate for families who are looking to adopt.
“As the largest employer here in Leon County, we can set the example for others by providing work-life balance options, encouraging health habits and wellness, and supporting families who choose to adopt. Adoption, and in particular adoption from foster care, is important and an increasingly common path to parenthood. It's good for state workers. It's good for children. It's good policy for the people of Florida," Williams said.
FAMU alumnus, Brittany Claybrooks, is happy with what the Florida House of Representatives are doing.
“As a child, I was adopted and raised by my adoptive family. I understand the importance of structured and well-thought out policies for families who are seeking to adopt, and legal support for the children who join them,” Claybrooks said. "I commend the Florida House on a job well done."
Senior allied health student Michael Davis said he believes that legislators are headed in the right direction concerning the state’s adoption policy, and will support any further legislation that ensures a trustworthy, “by the book” transition for the children of adoption agencies.
The legislation passed with a 68-50 vote and is scheduled to go into effect in July of this year.