Lawmakers in Helena are considering a bill that would allow foster children over the age of 14 to be involved in the planning process about their living situation as they age out of foster care.
Helena resident Lina Havron shared a story of a foster child named Charlie during testimony on the bill Monday.
“One of the biggest fears through the whole process of her being taken out of her home, was that she didn’t have a voice,” Havron says.
Democratic Rep. Kimberly Dudik is the sponsor of House Bill 351, which would also encourage more extracurricular activities for foster children.
“The lack of the foster child’s participation in these activities can limit their education, emotional and developmental growth,” Dudik says.
Dudik says the bill updates state code in order to continue receiving federal funds from and comply with the 2014 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.
Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.