The state Assembly has passed bills aimed at improving the foster care system.
They include a bill that would waive UW tuition for kids formerly in the foster care system.
The slate of bills stem from a bipartisan task force that looked into ways to improve the foster care system in Wisconsin.
One of those bills includes free tuition to any state school or tech college for teens that have spent time in foster care.
Representative Nancy Vandermeer spoke up at yesterday’s assembly floor session.
“It engages our young Wisconsinites who have experienced foster care to see a bright future where they can succeed into adulthood through education and lift all of us up here in Wisconsin,” she says.
Foster care kids would qualify for the program if they spent a year in the system as a teenager or were in a foster home when they turned 18.
That bill passed unanimously in the Assembly yesterday. There are 13 total bills in the package, and all of them passed in the chamber during yesterday’s floor session.
Another bill would set up a study committee to study social workers’ caseloads, which some say have become unmanageable thanks to more and more kids in foster care due to the opioid epidemic.
Representative Steve Doyle was the task force’s Democratic co-chair. He says social workers are overburdened with cases.
“These are cases that don’t have a quick ending because you have the up and down of the step forward and the step backwards… they just don’t seem to end, and when they do, it isn’t always a happy ending.”
Doyle says the opioid crisis is one of the main drivers behind the overburdened foster care system.
The bills now go to the Senate.
WORT Producer Nina Kravinsky covered the story.