Florida Seeks New Act To Provide Foster Care Alternative

Florida’s new Temporary Care of a Child Act sounds like a perfect alternative to foster care …. At least, for some people. Supporters of the act are working hard to convince legislators that the already overburdened foster care system is not the best choice in some circumstances.

For example, a single parent who encounters medical issues that put them out of commission for any length of time may have to relinquish their children to foster care until able to care for the children again. Or parents who lose their jobs, then their homes. Or any other number of issues that create a situation where the parents, though not abusive or neglectful, may not be able to care for their children. In these circumstances, proponents of the bill believe that placing the children in temporary hosting homes would be the best alternative. In host homes (which are volunteer, and do not receive any subsidy) the children are able to have regular contact with their parents, and know that the situation is temporary. Agencies facilitating these hosting situations train the hosts in safety and handling trauma. But there is no licensing required.

So what’s not to love about the act? Well, the training is minimal and supervision just as sparse. How can the agencies be sure the children are in a safe environment without enforceable guidelines in place?

This alternative to foster care is still being considered, as Florida is in special need of assistance in regards to caring for children. Many families move to Florida because of the climate, leaving behind extended family who would normally care for children in those extreme circumstances. And so without family support, too many children who are not at risk for abuse are being placed into foster care.

 The full news article may be read here.