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Foster Child Advocate and Country Recording Artist Jimmy Wayne Joins Legislative Leaders in Celebrating Child Welfare Reform

Foster Child Advocate and Country Recording Artist  Jimmy Wayne
Joins Legislative Leaders in Celebrating Child Welfare Reform
Raleigh, N.C. – Country recording artist, keynote speaker, New York
Times bestselling author and foster child advocate Jimmy Wayne joined
legislative leaders, including Senator Berger, Speaker Moore,
and Senator Tamara Barringer, to celebrate the passage of HB630, Rylan’s
Law/Family/Child Protect. & Acc. Act, which passed the legislature
and was signed by Governor Cooper last week. 
HB630 will reform and modernize North Carolina’s child welfare
system by creating a regional oversight system for county DSS agencies,
by providing the state with greater authority to hold counties
accountable for child outcomes, and by bringing in a third-party to
implement whole-scale child welfare practice and governance reform. 
“This bill is one of the most significant pieces of legislation to
impact social services. It overhauls the system to drive safety,
security and permanency for children in foster care across all 100
counties,” said Senator Tamara Barringer, who led the legislative effort
to pass HB630. 
Artist, speaker and author Jimmy Wayne, who spent years in North
Carolina’s child welfare system, is one of the country’s leading
advocates for children in foster care. He performed at Wednesday’s
celebration free of charge. 
“I grew up in the North Carolina foster care system. I know
firsthand the importance of having someone fight for you. Senator
Barringer is a war-horse for these children; she is their hope. I will
do whatever it takes and use all my resources to support her and her
team in this battle. I encourage others to help fight for these
vulnerable and valuable children,” said Jimmy.
“Jimmy Wayne is one of those rare individuals who “walks the talk”
literally! He walked halfway across America to raise awareness of youth
in foster care and has travelled to North Carolina repeatedly to support
legislation to repair the foster care system, including testifying in
the Legislative Oversight Committee on Health to extend foster care from
18 to 21 years of age,” said Sen. Barringer.
 
HB630 is largely a response to ongoing challenges in North
Carolina’s child welfare system. In 2015, North Carolina performed
miserably in a federal review, failing all 14 categories measured. In
2016, a legislatively mandated report by the private agency PCG showed
pervasive systemic problems with North Carolina’s child welfare system. 
These reports coincided with high-profile cases in which children
died as a result of DSS failures, including the case of Rylan Ott.
Twenty-three-month-old Rylan drowned after he was placed back in his
mother’s care only two months after being removed from her home. The
decision was made despite objections from the guardian ad litem and
without any DSS-supervised home visitations.  
To help prevent future cases like Rylan’s, HB630 requires county
DSS agencies to observe a child with his or her parents at least twice
prior to reunification. This provision is one of many included in the
legislation that will address the systemic issues that led to failed
reviews and child fatalities.
Specifically, the bill:
• Regionalizes supervision of local DSS offices;
• Provides state DHHS with greater authority and responsibility to hold county agencies accountable for child outcomes;
• Brings in a third party to develop and implement recommendations to transform child welfare services in North Carolina;
• Requires social workers to observe a child with his/her parents at least twice before reunification (Rylan’s law);
• Creates a council to align children’s services across government agencies; 
• Reduces barriers for youth in foster care to drive;  
• Reduces the time to permanency for children in the child welfare system. 
“House bill 630 demands transparency, accountability and quality of
care for children in foster care. They deserve nothing less,” said
Barringer.
###
To find out more about foster child advocacy, please visit: http://www.projectmmh.org
Follow Jimmy Wayne on social media, here: 
https://www.jimmywayne.com
https://www.facebook.com/JimmyWayneOfficial/
https://twitter.com/JimmyWayne
https://www.instagram.com/jimmywayneofficial
About Benchmarks:
Benchmarks is a non-profit association of provider agencies
advocating for quality and accountability among human service providers
so that North Carolina’s children, adults and families can realize their
full potential, contribute to their communities and live healthy
lives. 

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