S-0248.1/91       _______________________________________________


                                 SENATE BILL 5201



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By Senators L. Smith, Stratton and Talmadge.


Read first time January 23, 1991.  Referred to Committee on Children & Family Services.Providing for transitional living services for minors.

     AN ACT Relating to out-of-home care for older children; amending RCW 13.34.030; adding new sections to chapter 13.34 RCW; creating a new section; and making an appropriation.




     Sec. 1.  RCW 13.34.030 and 1988 c 176 s 901 are each amended to read as follows:

     For purposes of this chapter:

     (1) "Child" and "juvenile" means any individual under the age of eighteen years;

     (2) "Dependent child" means any child:

     (a) Who has been abandoned; that is, where the child's parent, guardian, or other custodian has evidenced either by statement or conduct, a settled intent to forego, for an extended period, all parental rights or all parental responsibilities despite an ability to do so;

     (b) Who is abused or neglected as defined in chapter 26.44 RCW by a person legally responsible for the care of the child;

     (c) Who has no parent, guardian, or custodian capable of adequately caring for the child, such that the child is in circumstances which constitute a danger of substantial damage to the child's psychological or physical development; or

     (d) Who has a developmental disability, as defined in RCW 71A.10.020 and whose parent, guardian, or legal custodian together with the department determines that services appropriate to the child's needs can not be provided in the home.  However, (a), (b), and (c) of this subsection may still be applied if other reasons for removal of the child from the home exist.

     (3) "Permanency planning" means the process by which a child is diagnostically assessed and provided treatment services based on his or her unique individual and developmental needs to facilitate the attainment of successful maturity as an adult.  Permanency planning should occur in the least restrictive setting appropriate and available and with minimum placement disruption.

     (4) "Transitional living programs" means programs that provide shelter and services designed to promote transition to self-sufficient living, development of independent living skills, and to minimize the incidence of long-term dependency on social services.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.      Out-of-home placement services become necessary whenever voluntary or court-ordered out-of-home placement of a child is imminent or has already occurred.  In striving to meet the objective of permanency for every child, a continuum of services must encompass the full range of possible alternatives.  This includes providing family support services, family counseling, in-home care, respite care, foster care, specialized foster care, adoption, group home care, residential treatment, and transitional living services.  The continuum of care is severely lacking in providing transitional living services.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  A new section is added to chapter 13.34 RCW to read as follows:

     The department of social and health services shall contract, using the request for proposal process, with independent qualified agencies to provide transitional living services to minors.

     Persons sixteen to eighteen years old or sixteen years old until emancipation are eligible for transitional living services.  The population eligible for transitional living services are those for whom returning to their parents' or guardians' home is not possible and for whom foster care or adoption is not likely or appropriate.  An assessment shall be done of each minor, including the minor's family situation, before receiving transitional living services.  The assessment shall include input from the agency that would be providing the transitional living services to the minor, the agency currently providing services to the minor, and the caseworker for the minor.  The assessment shall seek to determine whether the most appropriate plan for the minor is preparation for emancipation.  The assessment shall also determine whether the minor is motivated to participate in a transitional living program that requires significant commitment from the minor.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  A new section is added to chapter 13.34 RCW to read as follows:

     Transitional living services should be tailored to meet the needs of the particular minor.  A transitional living program should include, but is not limited to, the following:

     (1) Educational services, including basic literacy and computational skills training, either in local alternative or public high schools or in a high school equivalency program that leads to obtaining a high school equivalency degree;

     (2) Assistance and counseling related to obtaining vocational training or higher education, job readiness, job search assistance, and placement programs;

     (3) Health services including pre and post-natal care;

     (4) Counseling and instruction in life skills such as money management, home management, consumer skills, parenting, health care, access to community resources, and transportation and housing options;

     (5) Individual and group counseling with emphasis on issues of avoiding abuse, sexual abuse, prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, motivation, self-esteem, and interpersonal and social skills training and development;

     (6) Recognizing and facilitating long-term relationships with significant adults; and

     (7) Establishing networks with federal agencies and state and local organizations such as the department of labor, employment and training administration programs including the job training partnership act which administers private industry councils and the job corps; vocational rehabilitation; and volunteer programs.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.      The sum of .......... dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated for the biennium ending June 30, 1993, from the general fund to the department of social and health services for the purposes of this act.