Massachusetts has a new foster parent bill of rights that provides such important benefits as 10 paid days of respite care per year, a 24-hour hotline for help from caseworkers, and better communication with child welfare authorities. Most important, the statute has an enforcement mechanism in that foster parents can file a grievance or seek a hearing on state decisions about the children in their care. The statute also prohibits any adverse actions against foster parents who take those steps.

It is too soon to know how this bill of rights will work in practice, but it has some promising changes and very important protections for foster parents. It is a good step toward recruiting good foster parents in the state.

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