One of Speaker Pro Tem David Meade's most passionate projects is officially law, with the announcement that Meade's Foster Child "Bill of Rights" was signed by Governor Matt Bevin on Thursday.
The bill sponsored by Meade grants statutory rights to foster children and is aimed at speeding up the adoption process.
"I'm proud to see this ambitious bill signed into law, as it is yet another component of our efforts to make Kentucky the nation's gold standard for foster care and adoption," said Meade.
"No child in need should ever slip through the cracks. These reforms will ensure that we are prioritizing taking care of the children who reside in state care."
The measure crates a list of 16 rights for foster children, including the right to adequate food, clothing and shelter; a quality education; and a safe and stable family.
It also shortens the length of time time in which a parent or guardian can revoke their consent to place a child for adoption from 20 days to three.
A statement from Meade said that the current 20-day period keeps both the child and potential adoptive parents in limbo and is a barrier for getting those children into homes in a timely manner.
"Making adoptions final three days after consent will further incentivize potential parents to adopt and improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable children," Meade said.
On Governor Bevin's official Twitter account, Bevin praises the bill, saying, "With legislation like HB 158, which provides a Foster Child Bill of Rights, Kentucky is becoming the gold standard across the nation for foster care and adoption reform."
Meade is the representative for House District 80, representing Lincoln County and part of Pulaski County. He introduced the bill, called House Bill 158, this session. It will take effect on June 27.
Meade and his wife, Rebecca, are the parents of a daughter whom they adopted from South Korea in 2012.