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Senate Approves Foster Care Bill

May 11, 2004
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

The Senate approved legislation that would change the state's foster care system.

Missy Shelton reports.

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The governor's office agreed to a provision allowing the state to contract with private companies interested in providing child care to children in the state's custody.

Democratic Governor Bob Holden had cited privatization as a main concern when he vetoed a similar bill last year.

During debate on the bill, Democratic Senator Joan Bray raised concerns that the bill doesn't require these private companies to be licensed or accredited.

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But the bill sponsor, Republican Senator Charlie Shields says Bray's concerns are unfounded.

He says the state will only contract with reputable companies.

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But these reassurances from Shields didn't persuade Bray.

She says the state must provide safeguards to make sure children who have been taken from their home because of abuse and neglect are not going to be harmed.

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Shields says it's unreasonable to expect organizations to be licensed or accredited.

He says there aren't state procedures for licensing facilities that provide certain child care services.

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The senate did accept the provision that allows the state to contract with private companies...And the bill doesn't stipulate that these companies must be licensed or accredited.

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