HCN News & Notes

Children’s League of Massachusetts Celebrates Passage of Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights

BOSTON — The Children’s League of Massachusetts (CLM) thanks legislators who worked late into the early-morning hours of Jan. 4 to get “An Act Establishing a Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights” through the House and onto the governor’s desk. CLM especially thanks the bill sponsors who championed this bill over multiple sessions and several years: state Sens. Joanne Comerford and Diana DiZoglio, and state Reps. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Paul Donato, and Vanna Howard.

CLM celebrates this legislation because it expands and codifies several key rights important to foster families, including access to training and resources; the right to appropriate communication between the Department of Children and Families (DCF), courts, and others involved with caring for the child; the right to be free from all forms of discrimination; and the use of the reasonable-and-prudent parenting standard to support decisions focused on child safety and routine, as well as enabling participation in developmentally appropriate family, recreational, and social events and experiences.

CLM applauds the work of fellow advocates, including the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Massachusetts Alliance for Families, the state’s foster-parent association, who were also dedicated to the passage of these child-welfare provisions.

“I am thrilled that the House and Senate passed the Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights legislation,” said Comerford, lead sponsor of the legislation in the Senate. “Foster parents are true unsung heroes, providing unmatched dedication, commitment, compassion, and love to those who need it the most. This bill creates a framework so that foster parents will be honored with dignity, respect, privacy, and consideration in caring for children in their care so they can provide the best care in loving homes. As a foster parent myself, I filed this bill to put strengthen our vital foster-care system. I am thankful to the Children’s League and other supporters for their work to get this bill passed.”

Added Farley-Bouvier, “I am delighted that we were able to send the Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights to the governor’s desk at the end of the 192nd session. My partners, Senator Jo Comerford and Representative Paul Donato, and myself have worked tirelessly on this critical and common-sense legislation that will support our foster parents across Massachusetts. Our foster parents deserve so much for all they do in opening their hearts and their homes to our most vulnerable children.”