As you may have already heard, there has been much activity around the topic of foster care in the Florida legislature this session. After much advocacy on behalf of the foster children of Florida, the legislature moved to pass legislation that would help keep kids safe and appropriated additional funding to the system.
Last year, Our Kids helped to create the Foster and Adoptive Parent Legislative Committee to ensure that foster and adoptive parents have a voice in Tallahassee. This year, 12 parents traveled to Tallahassee in three groups to meet with legislators and ask them to fund the system appropriately.
Needless to say, we all had an amazing experience, not only because we were able to overcome a huge hurdle in our fight for foster children in the state, but our group was also able to make some very significant contacts.
We met with key folks such as House Representatives, Senators, aids and Miami Dade Mayor, Carlos Gimenez, to go over our legislative goals. We also recruited potential foster parents and answered many questions on what it means to be a foster parent.
Each week parents stood up in committee to convey the importance of putting kids first. Standing up to have our voices heard in committees sparked the legislature to ask important questions. Some of us were even interviewed by the Miami Herald. Each of the groups built on the momentum of the last. On the final group’s last day we had a sit down meeting with the Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera in his chambers.
We are so thankful to all the elected officials and their staff for their hard work this session. We can always do more on behalf of children and as a committee we look forward to continuing our work on behalf of the children we serve.