INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 2, 2016) – The House of Representatives voted unanimously today to pass State Rep. Denny Zent’s (R-Angola) bill protecting foster families in Indiana.
House Bill 1069 would allow the juvenile court and the Department of Child Services to issue protective and restraining orders against a person who is threatening the well-being of a child or their foster family.
“Currently, foster families must jump through many hoops to obtain legal protections for the children they have welcomed into their home,” Zent said. “Foster families strive to provide safe environments for children in need, and if that is threatened, they deserve the tools to make sure their households are secure.”
The bill would also make violence against a member of a foster family a Level 6 felony instead of a Class B misdemeanor, if the person who committed the offense is a relative of a person who lived in the foster family home at the time of the offense.
“These can be volatile situations,” Zent said. “Our priority is to make sure children in foster care are safe as well as the Hoosier families stepping up to take care of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Zent said Evansville lawmaker and chair of the House committee on the Courts and Criminal Code, State Rep. Thomas Washburne, played an integral role in crafting the proposal.
Zent’s bill will now be considered by the Senate.
Rep. Zent (R-Angola) represents most of LaGrange and Steuben counties.