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Bill To Give Relatives Caring For Kids More Rights Stalled In House

Children sitting on a bench look out at a park
Piron Guillaume

Florida senators are pushing forward with a change to family law. The proposal focuses on situations where relatives spend years caring for children left with them by family members. However, the bill has stalled in the House.

Alan Abramowitz is Executive Director of Florida’s Guardian ad Litem Office. He points to Florida’s recent opioid crisis, saying it's been a big factor to the rise of parents abandoning children with relatives. Abramowitz says in certain situations those relatives have no rights when parents come back. 

“We have had some parents [who] would get a deputy sheriff to go pick up their child," Abramowitz says, "And the caregiver who’s been taking care of the child because they just disappeared can’t do anything and has to give the child back and they don’t know whether the child is safe.” 

That’s caused concern from multiple state lawmakers. A Senate proposal to address the issue cleared its 2nd committee this week. The House version was temporarily postponed Thursday after its sponsor wasn’t able to present the bill.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.