Judge John Bowman, a circuit justice in Florida's 17th circuit, has received widespread attention as an advocate for children in foster care. Successfully reducing the number of adoption-eligible children in the Circuit's Juvenile Dependency division from 150 to only five, Judge John Bowman has continued to promote adoption and received the Guardian Ad Litem Program's community advocate award for his efforts.
For a child to be eligible for adoption in Florida, the birth mother and any other person entitled to custody must agree to the adoption. Any court-verified evidence of abuse or neglect automatically waives this requirement. Once the court has terminated parental rights, adoptive parents may finalize the adoption after 30 days or following 90 days in the adoptive home, whichever occurs later.
Once finalized, adoption means that the child in question becomes a legal part of the new family. The child receives a new birth certificate that names the adoptive parents as the child's parents, and most children receive a new name to reflect their new family situation. The adoptive family accepts all parental responsibilities for the child and gives the child equal legal status in relation to other current or future children of the family.
Judge John Bowman has accumulated a long record of helping streamline the judicial system to benefit children.