Legislative Update – Senator Diana Dizoglio
A message from MA State Senator Diana DiZoglio
Today in Massachusetts, there are more than 3,000 children in foster care with a goal of adoption. With waitlists booming, countless children are waiting three or more years to be adopted.
Playing a truly invaluable role in this process are foster parents, providing a safe and stable environment for children who, due to a variety of reasons, cannot be with their biological parents. Children who have been uprooted from their homes need a place where they can feel secure. In all too many instances, they have suffered abuse and/or neglect and have no idea what a loving home feels like. Foster parents help them learn what it is like to eat, sleep, and play in a place that is safe.
In Massachusetts, the rights and responsivities for foster parents are spread out among an expansive set of laws, regulations and policies through The Department of Children and Families (DCF) that all too often leave foster parents feeling confused and unfairly treated.
That is why I am so grateful the Senate recently passed legislation I co-sponsored, An Act establishing a foster parents’ bill of rights, designed to provide foster parents with the resources and supports they need to provide for children in their care.
Specifically, the legislation places into state law that foster parents have the right to pertinent training; information about the child to be placed in their home; access to a social workers and family resource workers; the opportunity to communicate with professionals who work with the child; and be updated on relevant changes in policies, procedures and law.
While many of these rights are already required elsewhere in Massachusetts law, by recognizing these as positive rights possessed by foster parents, rather than mere obligations for state agencies to uphold, the bill would ensure these standards are followed without exception in interactions between the state and foster parents. A copy of this bill of rights would be provided to foster parents to help support them as they support our children in need.
If you have any questions on this or any other issue, please feel free to contact me anytime via email at Diana.Dizoglio@masenate.gov or phone at 978-984-7747.
Yours in service,