Reps. Craig Staats (R-Bucks) and Chris Quinn (R-Delaware) announced the introduction of a legislative package to better protect children in the Pennsylvania child welfare system. The bills are crafted in honor of Grace Packer, a 14-year-old girl who was murdered in Bucks County by her adoptive mother and her adoptive mother’s boyfriend in 2016.
“Grace ventured in and out of the foster care system through Bucks, Montgomery, and Lehigh counties. She ultimately fell through the unacceptable cracks in our system. Our aim with this legislation is prevent another child from being lost in this system and condemned to cruelty and even death,” Staats said.
“We’ve learned a lot from this tragedy, most importantly, that the system in Pennsylvania has flaws, and must be fixed to better protect our most vulnerable children.” “For more than five years, there has been plenty of talk, but too little action to address the gaping holes exposed by Grace’s death in our child welfare system,” said Quinn. “These three pieces of legislation introduced in her memory are important steps in protecting kids like Grace.”
As reported by local, statewide and national media, Grace was adopted as a toddler by Sara Packer, a county adoption worker, and her then-husband David. As a result of frequent moves, multiple county child welfare agencies (CCWA) and contractors of those agencies supervised Grace’s placement or had contact with the family.