Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

CHILDREN; DNA Protection

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

CHILDREN; DNA Protection

Article excerpt

Florida's foster care problems, it is increasingly obvious, must be solved much like one would assemble a giant jigsaw puzzle -- by putting together a series of pieces, big and small, until at last everything fits together. One of those pieces may be the controversial "tissue banking" strategy proposed by a gubernatorial task force.

Under the plan, authorities would use cheek swabs to collect DNA samples from all 45,000 children in the state's custody. The material would be stored for identification of missing children.

Critics, including the University of Miami's bioethics team, insist that would be a violation of privacy -- and they seem especially worried that the samples might be used to build a legal case against a child who later commits a crime.

But the welfare of foster children is inherently a public matter. In any case, an endangered child's immediate safety is more important than his prospective defense strategy if, some time in the future, he might decide to break a law. …

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