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House Approves Foster Care Legislation

April 13, 2004
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

By a vote of 106 to 41, the House gave final approval to the measure that makes numerous changes to the foster care system.

It's named after Dominic James, a Springfield toddler who died while in foster care.

His foster father was convicted last year of fatally abusing the boy.

The bill sponsor is House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

She says there's other evidence, besides the Dominic James case that the system needs to change.

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Some of the lawmakers who voted against the bill did praise Hanaway for her work on the issue.

Democratic Representative Margaret Donnelly said though the bill makes much-needed changes, it doesn't provide money to make the changes.

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Donnelly's fellow democrat Rachel Bringer said it's wrong to put more demands on a system without providing adequate funding.

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But during debate, Hanaway told Springfield Republican Representative Roy Holand that there is more than enough money to pay for the changes proposed in her bill.

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Hanaway's bill doesn't require the department to put foster children in facilities that are licensed...She says it's not necessary since the department only uses licensed agencies.

But that's not good enough for Democratic Representative Barbara Fraser.

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But bill sponsor Catherine Hanaway says she'd crafted the best bill she could that would garner support from a wide range of groups.

She says no matter what legislators pass into law, nothing will solve all the problems in the foster care system.

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The proposal now moves to the senate for consideration.

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