DAVIDSON COUNTY — A bill ushered through the N.C. General Assembly by an area legislator and recently signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper aims to improve the foster care system and the outcomes for children.
Sen. Steve Jarvis, R-Davidson, served as the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 693. Jarvis told The High Point Enterprise that he was inspired to pass the legislation based on his experiences as an elected official overseeing the foster care system and the example set by his mother Linda Hudson, who served as a foster parent to 18 children over a period of years.
“We are standing up for children who have no voice for themselves,” he said.
Jarvis said the new law has several primary components.
“The essence of the bill is wanting to speed up the time in which once a child is determined to be removed from the home and there’s no other family available, that the child will get into a permanent foster home quicker,” he said.
Another provision involves a study about setting up a toll-free phone line so that any abuse can be reported across North Carolina.
“We want a standardized process that is consistent from county to county,” Jarvis said.
The interest Jarvis holds about foster care dates back to his time as a Davidson County commissioner when he served as chairman of the county Department of Social Services board. He has followed up that experience with service on statewide boards and panels.
“I’ve seen a lot of issues that were problems in the system,” he said.
Jarvis’ passion about the topic stems from growing up with foster children cared for by his mother in his family’s home.
“When I was born, my mother had two foster children at that time,” he said.
Jarvis began working on foster care legislation three years ago when he was first elected to the General Assembly as a state representative from Davidson County. He stuck with it after winning his state Senate seat last year.
The 12-page bill took time to craft to find bipartisan support, Jarvis told The Enterprise. In signing the bill, Cooper said “this legislation takes important steps to help protect children from abuse and neglect and to help them grow up successfully in a safe environment.”
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