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Colorado Springs group hopeful for positive changes from the Bill of Rights for Foster Youth

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Hope and Home is a foster support and licensing program located in Colorado Springs. Following the House of Representatives approving House Bill 24-1017, The Bill of Rights for Foster Youth, they're saying that Foster kids in Colorado Springs stand to seriously benefit from the piece of legislation.

"I think the changes look to be positive," Marian Percy, director of therapeutic foster care at Hope and Home said. "It's amazing when foster children can have more of a voice into their day and their life in foster care and it looks like it will give them more voice and more ability to be involved in their case and [have] some basic freedoms that they might not have had before."

Percy said her agency already makes new foster parents sign a document ensuring they know the foster child's rights. The list includes things like freedom of thought, supervision, being supplied with food and clothing, and open communication with family members.

However, Percy says the new legislation will ensure that Foster children will have the ability to express gender identity and freedom from threats and retaliation for expressing gender identity, religion, or asking questions and raising concerns, among other things. These are the things included that have led to debate in the past, though the bill has passed without amendment in the third reading of the house this legislative season.

"I have had some children that have been retaliated in foster care earlier in their life, and that was earlier in my career," Percy said. "When they had, for example, different political views than the foster families or they had, you know, different religious affiliations."

Percy has been working in the foster system for over twenty years. She worked for El Paso County for the majority of her career, directly with kids and overseeing other case workers. She retired five years ago to work with and for Hope and Home five years ago.

"They have no voice at times when they get separated from their brothers and sisters or they get moved. And sometimes there's not a good explanation about why that happens. So I think it's really important for them to be able to express how they're feeling about a move or how they're feeling about being separated from their siblings or not being allowed to talk to their mom or dad," Percy said.

HB24-1017 passed the third reading of the House today without amendments and is still in the approval process. It will go to the Senate next before it finally hits the governor's desk.

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Emily Coffey

Emily is a Reporter for KRDO. Learn more about her here.


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