House approves plan to test privatization of adoption, foster care

A bill calling for a two-year pilot program to test the privatization of child welfare services passed the House on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 350, which would privatize services such as foster care and adoption in certain parts of the state, did not receive the 91 votes needed to pass during the first vote. But members quickly chose to reconsider the bill, and it passed the second time around with a 104-70 vote.

The bill was altered significantly from the original version approved by the Senate, which called for the statewide privatization of child welfare services by 2017. Senate leaders are unhappy with the changes and still hope to get privatization passed this session.

Passing the pilot allows the House to keep conversation going with the Senate, said House Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton.