April 21, 2004

State of Alabama
Press Release: Human Resources, Department of

Foster Parent’s Bill of Right’s Signed into Law

Governor Bob Riley signed the Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights today, April 20th, 2004.The bill requires the DHR to provide certain rights to parents who care for foster children in the state’s custody.

The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Sen. Sundra Escott (D-Birmingham) and Rep. Mac Gibson (R-Prattville), received final approval by the Legislature last week without opposition.

"These are common sense rules that will better protect children and give foster parents a stronger voice in the system," said Gov. Riley. "We must always be mindful that foster parents are part of a team that puts children first, and they deserve our respect and our gratitude."

"This is a bipartisan accomplishment and I commend the sponsors of this bill and the Legislature for passing it," Gov. Riley concluded.

Dr. Page Walley, DHR Commissioner also spoke positively of the bill’s passage, "I’m proud that DHR has taken a leadership role in the passage of this bill on behalf of foster parents. Having passed a similar bill in Tennessee, I know the benefits attained by treating foster parents with respect and dignity. Most importantly, our children will be the primary beneficiaries of our finding better ways to work together."

Among other things, the bill guarantees "The right to be treated with dignity, respect, trust, value, and consideration as a primary provider of foster care and a member of the professional team caring for foster children." The rights to receive certain information, training, services, and respite are an example of the some of the rights foster parents will have if this bill becomes law.

To read the complete bill, please go to the state legislature’s web site at http://alisdb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/alisonstart.asp and click on "visit Allison." After entering Allison look up HB261 or SB228.

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