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Royce Acts to Ensure Care of Ailing Girl, 4

January 07, 1988| From a Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Sen. Edward Royce (R-Anaheim) has introduced legislation designed to ensure that a chronically ill Yorba Linda girl will continue to receive funding for her medical care even if she is adopted by her foster parents.

Brianna Bird, 4, who was born three months prematurely and has suffered from numerous ailments ever since, is eligible to have her $25,000-a-month medical bills paid by the government. That figure covers private nursing care, equipment, medication, food and speech therapy.

But if her foster parents, Tim and Leslie Bird, adopt her, Brianna would no longer be a ward of the county and would thus lose her eligibility for government assistance.

'Removes Red Tape'

Royce's bill would change the law to allow the state to pay the cost of adopted children's medical care for ailments that existed at the time of adoption.

"This removes the bureaucratic red tape which prevented the adoption of Brianna," said Royce, who has negotiated unsuccessfully with state officials to have the problem taken care of without legislation.

In the long run, Royce said, the state and county will save money because Brianna, if she is adopted, will no longer have to be supervised by a social worker and her case will not take up the time of the courts. There is no way the government could avoid the medical costs, because the Birds could not adopt Brianna without assurances that funding for her care would continue, Royce said.

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