New report sheds light on designated funds not going to Florida foster kids

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A new report shows that Florida’s children in foster care may not be getting the money they deserve.

The report is from the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law.

Foster children in the state’s custody receive federal benefits. The reports says one year of benefits is equivalent to the cost of two years of books and college supplies, or ten months of rent for a one bedroom apartment.

Robin Rosenberg is a juvenile lawyer and deputy director of Florida’s Children First. She says Florida laws are good, but it’s a matter of enforcement.

“It’s not like many other states where legal reform is required. In Florida, it’s just a matter of making sure that everyone in the system, both the children and their adult supporters, are familiar with the law and process so that the children can ask for the money to be used for the purpose they designate.”

The money can go to enriching foster children’s lives. Rosenberg says the lack of funds distribution is not ill intent, just a lack of knowledge.

“Children need to know, ‘hey I’m getting this money, and I want the money to go to summer camp, or buy a band instrument. I need to have access to my money.”

The implementation falls to all levels of frontline workers.

“Educating their case workers, guardians ad litem, attorneys, the court system, the caregivers, to all know that this process exists, to read the paperwork that they get – when they get the paperwork – and to help the children themselves understand what they’re rights are”

Rosenberg says it’s an awareness issue, and encourages those who know foster child guardians to make sure they know about the money their foster child could be receiving.

 

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