Originally created 03/04/03

Governor's floor leaders announce foster care legislation



ATLANTA -- The governor's floor leaders introduced legislation Monday that allows foster parents to have a say regarding the child's future care and placement.

The legislation, introduced by Republican Sens. Bill Stephens of Canton and Dan Lee of LaGrange, would make foster parents a necessary witness in placement hearings. The bill would also ensure that foster parents are given notice of hearings.

"Although DFACS (Department of Family and Children's Services) provides valuable insight, foster parents are being left out of the loop," Gov. Sonny Perdue said in a prepared statement. "More often that not, foster parents typically do not have the opportunity to provide critical current information about the child's needs and interests."

The governor and his wife have served as foster parents since 1998 and have provided care for eight infants.

"As a foster parent, I am aware of the type of knowledge and genuine interest in the child's future and that foster parents can bring to this important process," Perdue said. "In many cases, foster parents have been with the children for years and can provide valuable insight into the needs and best interests of the child."

Georgia has 14,472 children and 3,507 families in the state foster care program.