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Archive of May 2013

May 23, 2013

Things are looking up for Florida’s Foster Kids!

For thousands of foster kids across Florida, life is about to become a little more "normal." Under newly passed laws being watched by much of the nation, children growing up in the state's care will soon be allowed to play sports, sleep over at a friend's house, go to a movie or do any of the things other children do without their caretakers having to pursue background checks and court orders. Also, instead of having to leave foster care on their 18th birthdays, they'll have the option of staying until age 21 as long as they're going to school, working or getting job training. Half of the nearly 20,000 kids in the state's care are behind at least one grade in school — often because of traumatic home lives before they were removed from their biological families or frequent moves afterward. And few manage to graduate high school by age 18. Last year, a survey of former foster youth between 18 and 23 found that 40 percent had been arrested at least once, 45 percent of young women had had children, 47 percent were receiving food stamps and 40 percent had yet to receive a high school diploma or GED. And those were youth who had enrolled in independent-living programs that offer guidance in budgeting and life skills. A disproportionate number of former foster youth also wind up homeless. These new laws improve our foster kids' well-being and satisfaction, and hopefully will result in in fewer kids who are incarcerated, homeless or having kids of their own at a young age. As you probably know, Pates Law Group has a strong commitment for enriching the lives of the children within our community. If you are interested in assisting the funding of these normalcy efforts, or getting directly involved, please visit Foundation for Foster Children at http://foundationforfosterchildren.org/ or call Pates Law Group. Information provided by Kate Santich, Orlando Sentinel

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