Once you introduce a bill you never know how far it will get through the process, nor in what form. Such is the case with our bill to give relatives a say in the court room. Let's just say the bill is alive but it has mutated. We are hoping we do not have to kill the beast!
The intent of the House committee was to include foster providers with the same ability to speak in court if they had cared for the child for more than one year. Using the Stuth case as an example that would have given both the Stuths and the foster woman a chance to speak in court.
After the hearing and after the Stuths had left I talked with David Da Villar Fox from the department. His interpretation of the way the bill now reads is that the last person to have "possession" of the child for over one year would have say in court. That is not what anyone believes the House committee had intended. If that were true then the last one who has the ball would win the game. So...with the clock ticking Da Villar, Senate staff, several legislators, and I will be working to get the wording corrected. The House wanted equal footing for fosters in the bill. But, the way this bill is currently worded it gives 100 points to the fosters before the game even starts. All the department would have to do is make sure the fosters had the child for a year and a day!