SENATE BILL 5061
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By Senators L. Smith, Stratton, Craswell and Johnson.
Read first time January 17, 1991. Referred to Committee on Children & Family Services.
AN ACT Relating to monitoring out-of-home placement of children; amending RCW 74.13.031; and reenacting and amending RCW 13.34.130.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1. RCW 74.13.031 and 1990 c 146 s 9 are each amended to read as follows:
The department shall have the duty to provide child welfare services as defined in RCW 74.13.020, and shall:
(1) Develop, administer, supervise, and monitor a coordinated and comprehensive plan that establishes, aids, and strengthens services for the protection and care of homeless, runaway, dependent, or neglected children.
(2) Develop a recruiting plan for recruiting an adequate number of prospective adoptive and foster homes, both regular and specialized, i.e. homes for children of ethnic minority, including Indian homes for Indian children, sibling groups, handicapped and emotionally disturbed, and annually submit the plan for review to the house and senate committees on social and health services. The plan shall include a section entitled "Foster Home Turn-Over, Causes and Recommendations."
(3) Investigate complaints of neglect, abuse, or abandonment of children, and on the basis of the findings of such investigation, offer child welfare services in relation to the problem to such parents, legal custodians, or persons serving in loco parentis, and/or bring the situation to the attention of an appropriate court, or another community agency: PROVIDED, That an investigation is not required of nonaccidental injuries which are clearly not the result of a lack of care or supervision by the child's parents, legal custodians, or persons serving in loco parentis. If the investigation reveals that a crime may have been committed, the department shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency.
(4) Offer, on a voluntary basis, family reconciliation services to families who are in conflict.
Monitor out-of-home placements((
, on a timely and routine basis,)) to
assure that the safety, well-being, and quality of care being provided
is within the scope of the intent of the legislature as defined in RCW
74.13.010 and 74.15.010(( , and)). The monitoring shall include a
face to face visit by a caseworker, from a public or private agency, with a
child in a foster home or relative's home within twenty-four hours of an
initial placement or any subsequent placement. Visits shall occur at least
once a month throughout the placement. If, after a dispositional hearing
provided for in RCW 13.34.130, the child has remained in the same placement for
at least six months, visits shall occur at least once every sixty consecutive
days. Neither telephone contact nor accompanying the child to court
constitutes a required visit. Verification of all required visits under this
subsection shall be included as part of any report submitted to the court
concerning the child. The department shall annually submit a report
delineating the results to the house and senate committees on social and health
(6) Have authority to accept custody of children from parents and to accept custody of children from juvenile courts, where authorized to do so under law, to provide child welfare services including placement for adoption, and to provide for the physical care of such children and make payment of maintenance costs if needed. Except where required by Public Law 95-608 (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1915), no private adoption agency which receives children for adoption from the department shall discriminate on the basis of race, creed, or color when considering applications in their placement for adoption.
(7) Have authority to provide temporary shelter to children who have run away from home and who are admitted to crisis residential centers.
(8) Have authority to purchase care for children; and shall follow in general the policy of using properly approved private agency services for the actual care and supervision of such children insofar as they are available, paying for care of such children as are accepted by the department as eligible for support at reasonable rates established by the department.
(9) Establish a children's services advisory committee which shall assist the secretary in the development of a partnership plan for utilizing resources of the public and private sectors, and advise on all matters pertaining to child welfare, day care, licensing of child care agencies, adoption, and services related thereto. At least one-third of the membership shall be composed of child care providers, and at least one member shall represent the adoption community.
(10) Have authority to provide continued foster care or group care for individuals from eighteen through twenty years of age to enable them to complete their high school or vocational school program.
(11) Have authority within funds appropriated for foster care services to purchase care for Indian children who are in the custody of a federally recognized Indian tribe or tribally licensed child-placing agency pursuant to parental consent, tribal court order, or state juvenile court order; and the purchase of such care shall be subject to the same eligibility standards and rates of support applicable to other children for whom the department purchases care.
Notwithstanding any other provision of RCW 13.32A.170 through 13.32A.200 and RCW 74.13.032 through 74.13.036, or of this section all services to be provided by the department of social and health services under subsections (4), (6), and (7) of this section, subject to the limitations of these subsections, may be provided by any program offering such services funded pursuant to Titles II and III of the federal juvenile justice and delinquency prevention act of 1974.
Sec. 2. RCW 13.34.130 and 1990 c 284 s 32 & 1990 c 246 s 5 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
If, after a fact-finding hearing pursuant to RCW 13.34.110, as now or hereafter amended, it has been proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the child is dependent within the meaning of RCW 13.34.030(2); after consideration of the predisposition report prepared pursuant to RCW 13.34.110 and after a disposition hearing has been held pursuant to RCW 13.34.110, the court shall enter an order of disposition pursuant to this section.
(1) The court shall order one of the following dispositions of the case:
(a) Order a disposition other than removal of the child from his or her home, which shall provide a program designed to alleviate the immediate danger to the child, to mitigate or cure any damage the child has already suffered, and to aid the parents so that the child will not be endangered in the future. In selecting a program, the court should choose those services that least interfere with family autonomy, provided that the services are adequate to protect the child.
(b) Order that the child be removed from his or her home and ordered into the custody, control, and care of a relative or the department of social and health services or a licensed child placing agency for placement in a foster family home or group care facility licensed pursuant to chapter 74.15 RCW or in a home not required to be licensed pursuant to chapter 74.15 RCW. Unless there is reasonable cause to believe that the safety or welfare of the child would be jeopardized or that efforts to reunite the parent and child will be hindered, such child shall be placed with a grandparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, uncle, aunt, or first cousin with whom the child has a relationship and is comfortable, and who is willing and available to care for the child. An order for out-of-home placement may be made only if the court finds that reasonable efforts have been made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from the child's home and to make it possible for the child to return home, specifying the services that have been provided to the child and the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian, and that:
(i) There is no parent or guardian available to care for such child;
(ii) The parent, guardian, or legal custodian is not willing to take custody of the child;
(iii) A manifest danger exists that the child will suffer serious abuse or neglect if the child is not removed from the home and an order under RCW 26.44.063 would not protect the child from danger; or
(iv) The extent of the child's disability is such that the parent, guardian, or legal custodian is unable to provide the necessary care for the child and the parent, guardian, or legal custodian has determined that the child would benefit from placement outside of the home.
(2) If the court has ordered a child removed from his or her home pursuant to RCW 13.34.130(1)(b), the court may order that a petition seeking termination of the parent and child relationship be filed if the court finds it is recommended by the supervising agency, that it is in the best interests of the child and that it is not reasonable to provide further services to reunify the family because the existence of aggravated circumstances make it unlikely that services will effectuate the return of the child to the child's parents in the near future. In determining whether aggravated circumstances exist, the court shall consider one or more of the following:
(a) Conviction of the parent of rape of the child in the first, second, or third degree as defined in RCW 9A.44.073, 9A.44.076, and 9A.44.079;
(b) Conviction of the parent of criminal mistreatment of the child in the first or second degree as defined in RCW 9A.42.020 and 9A.42.030;
(c) Conviction of the parent of assault of the child in the first or second degree as defined in RCW 9A.36.011 and 9A.36.021;
(d) Conviction of the parent of murder, manslaughter, or homicide by abuse of the child's other parent, sibling, or another child;
finding by a court that a parent is a sexually violent predator as defined in
(f) Failure of the parent to complete available treatment ordered under this chapter or the equivalent laws of another state, where such failure has resulted in a prior termination of parental rights to another child and the parent has failed to effect significant change in the interim.
(3) Whenever a child is ordered removed from the child's home, the agency charged with his or her care shall provide the court with:
(a) A permanent plan of care that may include one of the following: Return of the child to the home of the child's parent, adoption, guardianship, or long-term placement with a relative or in foster care with a written agreement.
(b) Unless the court has ordered, pursuant to RCW 13.34.130(2), that a termination petition be filed, a specific plan as to where the child will be placed, what steps will be taken to return the child home, and what actions the agency will take to maintain parent-child ties. All aspects of the plan shall include the goal of achieving permanence for the child.
(i) The agency plan shall specify what services the parents will be offered in order to enable them to resume custody, what requirements the parents must meet in order to resume custody, and a time limit for each service plan and parental requirement.
(ii) The agency shall be required to encourage the maximum parent-child contact possible, including regular visitation and participation by the parents in the care of the child while the child is in placement. Visitation may be limited or denied only if the court determines that such limitation or denial is necessary to protect the child's health, safety, or welfare.
(iii) A child shall be placed as close to the child's home as possible, preferably in the child's own neighborhood, unless the court finds that placement at a greater distance is necessary to promote the child's or parents' well-being.
(iv) The agency charged with supervising a child in placement shall provide all reasonable services that are available within the agency, or within the community, or those services which the department of social and health services has existing contracts to purchase. As part of such supervision, the agency's caseworker shall have a face to face visit with the child in a foster home or relative's home within twenty-four hours of the initial placement or any subsequent placement. Visits shall occur at least once a month throughout the placement. If the child has remained in the same placement for at least six months, visits shall occur at least once every sixty consecutive days. Neither telephone contact nor accompanying the child to court constitutes a required visit. Verification of all required visits under this subsection shall be included as part of any report submitted to the court concerning the child. It shall report to the court if it is unable to provide such services.
(c) If the court has ordered, pursuant to RCW 13.34.130(2), that a termination petition be filed, a specific plan as to where the child will be placed, what steps will be taken to achieve permanency for the child, services to be offered or provided to the child, and, if visitation would be in the best interests of the child, a recommendation to the court regarding visitation between parent and child pending a fact-finding hearing on the termination petition. The agency shall not be required to develop a plan of services for the parents or provide services to the parents.
(4) If there is insufficient information at the time of the disposition hearing upon which to base a determination regarding the suitability of a proposed placement with a relative, the child shall remain in foster care and the court shall direct the supervising agency to conduct necessary background investigations as provided in chapter 74.15 RCW and report the results of such investigation to the court within thirty days. However, if such relative appears otherwise suitable and competent to provide care and treatment, the criminal history background check need not be completed before placement, but as soon as possible after placement. Any placements with relatives, pursuant to this section, shall be contingent upon cooperation by the relative with the agency case plan and compliance with court orders related to the care and supervision of the child including, but not limited to, court orders regarding parent-child contacts and any other conditions imposed by the court. Noncompliance with the case plan or court order shall be grounds for removal of the child from the relative's home, subject to review by the court.
(5) The status of all children found to be dependent shall be reviewed by the court at least every six months from the beginning date of the placement episode or the date dependency is established, whichever is first, at a hearing in which it shall be determined whether court supervision should continue. The review shall include findings regarding the agency and parental completion of disposition plan requirements, and if necessary, revised permanency time limits.
(a) A child shall not be returned home at the review hearing unless the court finds that a reason for removal as set forth in this section no longer exists. The parents, guardian, or legal custodian shall report to the court the efforts they have made to correct the conditions which led to removal. If a child is returned, casework supervision shall continue for a period of six months, at which time there shall be a hearing on the need for continued intervention.
(b) If the child is not returned home, the court shall establish in writing:
(i) Whether reasonable services have been provided to or offered to the parties to facilitate reunion, specifying the services provided or offered;
(ii) Whether the child has been placed in the least-restrictive setting appropriate to the child's needs, including whether consideration has been given to placement with the child's relatives;
(iii) Whether there is a continuing need for placement and whether the placement is appropriate;
(iv) Whether there has been compliance with the case plan by the child, the child's parents, and the agency supervising the placement;
(v) Whether progress has been made toward correcting the problems that necessitated the child's placement in out-of-home care;
(vi) Whether the parents have visited the child and any reasons why visitation has not occurred or has been infrequent;
(vii) Whether additional services are needed to facilitate the return of the child to the child's parents; if so, the court shall order that reasonable services be offered specifying such services; and
(viii) The projected date by which the child will be returned home or other permanent plan of care will be implemented.