Tallahassee, Florida -- Florida's 2013 legislative session goes into the books as one that makes a big difference in the lives of foster children thanks to state Sen. Nancy Detert.
Sen. Detert, R-Venice, successfully pushed two bills through the Legislature that will help foster kids live more normal lives and also help them transition to adulthood.
One measure allows foster children to stay in foster care until they're 21 if they wish. The current limit is 18 years old. Sen. Detert says extending the age limit will give foster children a better chance of becoming independent and succeeding in life.
The other bill eliminates much of the red tape that foster children face if they want to participate in everyday activities. Currently, they have to get approval from the state to play school sports, go on field trips or even take a trip to the beach.
"In our interest to keep them safe, we ended up bubble wrapping them and separating them from their peers. Now they get to blend in with the rest of the kids at school and travel with their football team and participate in sports and it's going to be a big impact on their life," said Detert.
Members of Congress are taking notice of Sen. Detert's foster care bills.
She has been invited to testify before a committee in Washington, D.C. this week.
"The Secretary of the Department of Children and Families (David) Wilkins and I are going to Washington on Wednesday to testify before a committee about the legislation that Florida did and the U.S. House thinks that could be a model for the nation."
The Florida Senate honored Sen. Detert by renaming the legislation the "Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act." She has worked to improve the lives of Florida's foster children for many years.