Laws dictating the rights of foster parents vary state to state, with most being more restrictive than not in order to help protect children from harm. However, North Carolina is currently discussing a bill that would greatly enhance foster parent rights, granting them abilities to make more decisions for the children in their care.
The proposed law, dubbed the Foster Care Family Act, would create a “reasonable and prudent standard” that would allow foster parents the right to give permission to children in care to take part in extracurricular and social activities without notifying North Carolina’s Department of Social Services.
In New Jersey, foster parents do not have that ability. The Department of Social Services does not give permission for the child to join extracurricular or social activities. That decision is made by the biological parent or family and the Department of Child Protection & Permanency. While foster parents can advocate, the decision is ultimately not up to them.
But in North Carolina, it could be.
The proposed law, which is currently being discussed in the state’s House of Representatives after passing through the Judiciary committee in the Senate, would also enable foster parents to grant children in care permission to have overnight stays up to 72 hours without the supervision of a foster parent.
The legislation is aimed at giving foster children a better chance at leading normal lives, according to the bill’s sponsor and former foster parent Sen. Tamara Barringer.
What do you think of these potential changes? Would you like to see them in your state?