RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wednesday, a celebration event was held on Halifax Mall for a new law named after a Moore County toddler who died last year.
Rylan Ott drowned just shy of his second birthday and weeks after returning from his foster care guardian to his mother.
In a divided, tense General Assembly, it’s the 23-month-old who brought together a majority of lawmakers for the law that will protect little boys and girls like him.
“It’s very important to me. It means a lot to me,” said Titianna Goings, a former foster care child.
The 24-year-old is no longer in the system that she says left her with many bad experiences, including abuse.
She believes this law can have a major impact.
Officials never supervised Ott and his mom, Samantha Bryant, together before placing him back in her care. Now, Rylan’s law requires North Carolina’s Departments of Social Services hold at least two supervised visits before reuniting a family.
Asked what biological parents need to have in place before they regain custody, Goings answered, “First of all, I think they need to have that fear of when they came and take child away the first time. That should be their motivation.”
For former foster care child, Kyle Reece, he thinks a law like this starts the process towards a stronger foster care system.
“Although I definitely knew that nothing horrible would happen, it would still be kind of dramatic, I think, if I was forced to go back home without proper supervision making sure I was ready to,” Reece explained.
Now advocates for foster care children, both Reece and Goings say focusing this law on kids and their specific needs is what really makes this a win for hundreds of North Carolina’s children.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Bryant, the toddler’s mother, did plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and negligent child abuse for her son’s death.
She was sentenced to 19 months in prison.
For more on Rylan’s Law, including the additional measure that makes it easier for foster kids to get their driver’s licenses, click here.