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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – With backing from Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, lawmakers are moving quickly to approve a plan that would provide incentives for families to adopt children in the foster-care system.

The Senate Fiscal Policy Committee on Thursday unanimously approved the plan (SB 320), filed by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. The bill will now move to the full Senate.

Similarly, the House Health Care Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved the House version of the bill (HB 7013), which is poised to go to the full House.

Gardiner and Crisafulli included the adoption issue in a list of priorities they outlined before the legislative session. In part, the plan would offer $10,000 payments to state employees who adopt special-needs children from the foster-care system and $5,000 payments to state employees who adopt other foster children.

Gaetz described encouraging adoption as a “moral issue” because children want and need permanent homes.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report

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