By Travis Fain
RALEIGH, North Carolina (WRAL) — Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill into law Friday that lays out foster parent rights in North Carolina, putting them all in one place to clarify the notices they’re due and their role in making decisions for children in their care.
House Bill 769 should provide more access to information and a clearer role in the process, Rep. Erin Paré, R-Wake, said during a signing ceremony at the Executive Mansion.
The bill lays out rights, but it also says a violation won’t create a cause of action against the state, nor is anything in the bill meant to override existing rules or laws.
Foster parents and advocates cheered the measure’s signing. Gaile Osborne, who has fostered more than 18 children over the years, said she left Asheville at 4:30 a.m. to be in Raleigh for the signing.
The measure “strengthens and honors our role,” Osborne.
The rights listed in the new law include:
-To serve as a respected member of the child welfare team -To be notified of expenses eligible for reimbursement -Notice of hearings and a chance to be heard in court for review and permanency planning hearings -Input in court, and during periodic reviews, of any information relevant to the child’s best interests -Reasonable input on the schedule for meetings they’re allowed or required to attend -The ability to request a change in licensed workers -To be considered as prospective adoptive parents To request a shared parenting agreement
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