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FLORIDA

Law aims to help youth leaving foster care

Gerry Glynn is a Florida lawyer fighting for youth that are less fortunate. He traveled to Tallahassee last week to share with lawmakers a story that touched everyone in the room.

"I chaired a committee that evaluated the death of Regis Little, one of those kids who turned 18 in foster care and did not have any adults to help him make decisions, and made tragic decisions that led to his death," he said to a Florida House subcommittee. "Some of these children have had disabilities that made it difficult for them to make wise choices."

Regis Little was in the foster care system in Orlando. He was known to have developmental disabilities. He refused options for help after turning 18. Soon after he left care, he was involved in a fight and was found stabbed to death in an Orlando parking lot. His death was ruled a justifiable homicide.

Glynn served on a task force named after "Regis Little" to help those just like him. One of their findings was it's important to link foster youths, especially those with special needs, with an adult to help them transition.

"I want there to be children to have the support to make wise decisions and are able to thrive, not unfortunately die as the case happened with Regis," he said.

Now, a proposed law would do just that. HB 437 would pair foster kids who need decision-making assistance with guardians from Florida's Guardian Ad Litem program. The bill easily passed the subcommittee last week and seems to have a lot of support.

"They are our children in Florida that are the most vulnerable. Those children who have been removed from their families, they're in foster care, they have an intellectual disability and sometimes they are not able to make the best decisions," said the bill's House sponsor Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach. "So, making sure there's a process in place for when we have individuals that fall into that category that there are systems in place so that they don't fall through the cracks."

Garin Flowers
23 February, 2015

http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/politics/florida/2015/02/23/proposed-law-aims-to-help-special-needs-you-leaving-foster-care/23898689/

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