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Florida bill would help needy families from losing child custody

A new law has been proposed which will give needy families in the state access to temporary foster care. For many single parents in Florida, a parent's serious illness, struggle with addiction or even a visit to jail can mean the loss of their child to foster care. If a parent has no one to care for their child while they are sick or away, child custody can be lost to them forever. Those behind The Temporary Care of a Child Act are hoping to change all that.

According to the report, the bill is designed to provide host families, known as "respite families," to care for a child in such a situation for a limited period of 90 days. Non-profit agencies, such as churches, would match the needy family with a host family. Once the parent is home from the hospital, or jail, or finished with a needed rehabilitation program, the child would be returned to them with no court involvement needed.

The program will not cost taxpayers anything because it does not require any money to work. All participation is voluntary, from the non-profits who match the children to families to the host families themselves. The heavy burden that already rests on the back of Florida's welfare system could be relieved somewhat by such a law. Needy parents are also more likely to choose this path since it dissipates their fears of having their children taken from them on a permanent basis.

For single parents who are afraid of losing their child custody because of an illness or another issue, there are options available to help the child stay with the parent. Anyone who is facing the threat of losing his or her child can seek the help of an experienced family law attorney. The family lawyer can help guide the client in the steps to take to keep the child safe and can inform the client of any new laws which may apply to the situation.

Source:, "Bill aims to create alternative to foster care for struggling families", Christopher O'Donnell, April 16, 2017