Bills aimed at fixing a glitch in a Florida law have cleared their first legislative committees in the House and Senate. The two measures could get more pro bono attorneys to help kids with special needs.
Today, if a paid attorney is appointed by the court to represent an abused or neglected child, the associated court costs would be covered under Florida law. Those fees can include depositions as well as expert witnesses who testify on the child’s mental state. But, for attorneys who volunteer their time, those costs are not covered. So, Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) hopes to address that with his bill.
“So, what this bill does is says, ‘if you’re a pro bono attorney, we—the state of Florida—will pay your court-related costs,” he said.
Bean’s bill builds on a 2014 law that states: every special needs child shall have an attorney. Special needs children include foster care kids, human trafficking victims, and those with developmental disabilities.
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