POSTED: Saturday, June 1, 2013 - 6:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, June 1, 2013 - 6:04am
Baton Rouge, LA (NBC33) — Parents and politicians both believe a newly signed law will mean better lives for hundreds of children every year.
Governor Bobby Jindal signed the Louisiana Has Faith in Families Act during a special ceremony Friday.
The law provides financial incentives for low-income families and parents who adopt children with special needs; reduces the wait time for certain foster parents and pre-approved parents; and provides families more options for how they want to educate their adoptive children.
"By encouraging and assisting with adoption efforts, for families across the state, we go a long way towards ensuring that our next generation is provided with a stable and loving environment they need," Gov. Jindal said.
Mike Ecuyer, who has adopted seven children with his wife, believes the law will lead to more adoptions.
"I believe that the families are there, their hearts are there to do this," he said. "I just think this is going to put some extra support mechanisms in place that will help these families step forward."
Gov. Jindal said he thought the law would have a large impact on the religious community, because many churches have programs that help members through the adoption process.
But many prospective parents become frustrated with the bureaucracy and time required to adopt a child.
"We think it's criminal that they wait months, sometimes years, to be matched to a family," stated Gene Mills, president of the Louisiana Family Forum.
Louisiana has set records each of the last few years for the number of children adopted, including 652 last year. Gov. Jindal added that another 487 children are considered adoption-ready.
"As you look around this room and see their faces, this is really about these young boys and girls," he said. "It's about making sure that every one of them, those that aren't here, in our state, have the best chance of success."
Ecuyer said that once his family began adopting children, they found it hard to stop, and their lives have been enriched each time.
"We're a busy family, but we're a blessed family," he said. "And we feel like, my wife and I both feel like, we're more blessed than our children."
The signing of the law coincided with an event called Over the Edge, in which several fundraisers rappelled down a building. LSU football coach Les Miles took part Thursday, and promised to donate 100 tickets to children.
Senator Rick Ward (D-Port Allen), who co-authored the law, called it the most important thing he has worked on since he took office.
The law, originally SB 220, passed through the state Senate by a 36-0 vote and through the House of Representatives by a 86-4 vote.
To read the new law, download the PDF file below.
|Louisiana Has Faith in Famies Act.pdf ||38.19 KB|