Representative Ben Albritton Champion for Children in Foster Care
March 1st, 2016
Representative Ben Albritton (R – Bartow) has been a terrific champion of foster youth and foster parents. In the past, he sponsored several bills that became law to improve the lives of children and youth who have been removed from their homes. This included the normalcy bill which later became Federal law and the Keys to Independence Act so youth in foster care could learn to drive. This year, he is the House Sponsor of a bill to establish Foster Family Appreciation Week. During the past week of budget negotiations, as Chairman of the Joint Appropriations Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources/General Government, Rep. Albritton was instrumental in securing two appropriations for youth in foster care within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (ACS) Budget. Vice Chair Hays and the other members of the Joint Committee made a big impact on children’s lives with these two appropriations. This committee listened to children and listened to those who care for children.
The first program would authorize $100,000 for “Fostering Success Youth Readiness Training and Placement Services.” This program is a continuation of a pilot project, and would enable foster youth to intern in a variety of positions at ACS. It would be a great opportunity for young people in college to be mentored by experienced ACS professionals. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s partnership in this endeavor is greatly appreciated. The second project would appropriate $400,000 for Equine Activities for children and youth in foster care. Equine activities have been shown to benefit both able bodied and disabled youth emotionally and physically, and will expand the range of services for our youth.
I am so excited to see the commitment and creativity that Representative Albritton brings to improving the lives of children and youth in foster care. His passion has led him to break new ground and forge relationships with a Department that has so much to offer youth seeking a career in agriculture, business, food and nutrition, forestry, firefighting or consumer services. Funding for these two new projects still has a few more steps before becoming law for FY 16-17, but I am very optimistic and grateful for the work that Representative Albritton has done to support Florida kids. The great news is that …… this is only the beginning for Representative Albritton. The Guardian ad Litem Program is so proud to have him as a champion for children.
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