08-24-2017 09:33 AM CET - Politics, Law & Society

Senator Aaron Bean has filed a bill aimed at helping special needs children in dependency court

Press release from: Senator Aaron Bean
PR Agency: Client Focused Media
Senator Aaron Bean
Senator Aaron Bean
Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 17, 2017 – Florida State Senator Aaron Bean filed a bill for the 2018 session called the Pro Bono Matters Act of 2018. The bill is designed to provide case related due process costs to attorneys who provide pro bono services to dependent children with special needs.

“My hope is that this bill will encourage attorneys to offer pro bono services to a dependent child with certain special needs,” said Sen. Bean, R-Fernandina Beach. “Removing the costs associated with volunteering to take the case could increase the number of attorneys who step forward to help these children.”

Senate Bill 146 calls for the state to provide funding up to $1,000 per child per year to appointed attorneys and organizations, including pro bono attorneys, to cover the costs of litigation. These costs could include expert witnesses, depositions and filing costs. The funding would be subject to appropriations and review by the Justice Administrative Commission to determine if the costs are reasonable.

The Florida Guardian Ad Litem program has announced their support of the bill. The Guardian Ad Litem program is currently working with The Florida Bar Foundation in the push to find attorneys to represent special needs children pro bono.

Florida law currently allows a 15-day window to find a pro bono attorney to represent the special needs child. If no pro bono attorney is found, a state funded attorney is appointed to the case. By offering up to $1,000 in due process costs for a pro bono attorney, it could save the state money on attorney costs.

Sen. Bean serves Florida Senate District 4 which includes Nassau County and parts of Duval County. To learn more about this and other legislations from Sen. Bean, visit www.flsenate.gov/.

Senator Aaron Bean
13453 North Main Street, Suite 301
Jacksonville, FL 32218

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