02/28/2018 -- Atlanta, GA - Rep. Bert Reeves, R - Marietta, takes to the podium to endorse HB 605, the Hidden Predator Act, at the House Chambers during Crossover day at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Wednesday, February 28, 2018. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJ
Photo: ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJ

Georgia House approves bill aiming to ease foster parents’ access to child care

The Georgia House unanimously approved legislation backed by the governor that aims to make it easier for foster parents to hire child care. 

House Bill 912 would allow foster parents to leave children in their care with a babysitter for up to three days without having to get approval through the state Division of Family and Children Services. Current law limits that time to two days.

The legislation, which passed 112-0, is part of Gov. Brian Kemp’s effort to overhaul the state’s foster care system

HB 912 sponsor state Rep. Bert Reeves, a Marietta Republican, said the legislation aims to make it easier for foster parents to take a weekend trip or handle an out-of-town emergency without submitting the person providing child care to the DFCS approval process — which can range from undergoing a background check to the agency inspecting the home. The child care provider would have to be at least 18 years old.

“I appreciate Rep. Reeves’ leadership on this important issue and thank the House for their support,” Kemp said in a statement. “Together, we can continue to empower foster parents and prioritize the care and well-being of Georgia’s foster children.”

Other pieces of Kemp’s proposal passed earlier in the week, including a bill that would drop the age someone is allowed to adopt a child from 25 to 21 and another that makes it illegal for foster parents to have sexual contact with children in their care. House Bill 911 aims to close a loophole the legislation’s sponsor said exists once a child in foster care turns 16 — Georgia’s legal age of consent.

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