HB 912′s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Bert Reeves of Marietta, 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.
The new law also will require judges to prioritize cases involving children in foster care and asks juvenile courts to better track those cases.
State Sen. Matt Brass, a Newnan Republican who sponsored legislation that was folded into HB 912, said the new law aims to have judges prioritize foster care-related cases “over all other civil and criminal hearings.” Juvenile courts also would be required to document the timeline as cases move through the system.
House Bill 911 closes what Kemp called a “loophole” in Georgia law, making it illegal for a foster parent to engage in a sexual activity with those in his or her care — specifically after that child turns 16, Georgia’s legal age of consent.
Kemp also signed House Bill 823, which bars anyone convicted of human trafficking from getting a commercial driver’s license if their conviction involved driving a commercial vehicle. It mirrors a federal law, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act, that has established a similar ban.
“This fight is far from over, and it is one that we are focused on winning,” Marty Kemp said. “Every day, we will continue to do our part to keep our children safe and ensure that those who would put them in harm’s way know that they have no place in Georgia.”