S-2093.1          _______________________________________________


                        SECOND SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5341



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators L. Kreidler, Bailey, Murray, Talmadge, Stratton and Bauer).


Read first time March 11, 1991.Providing liability insurance to foster parents.

     AN ACT Relating to insurance for foster parents; adding a new section to chapter 74.14B RCW; adding a new section to chapter 4.24 RCW; and creating new sections.




     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.      The legislature recognizes the unique risks that foster parents face in taking children into their care.  Third parties may file claims against foster parents for losses and damage caused by foster children.  The legislature finds that some potential foster parents are unwilling to subject themselves to such potential liability without insurance protection.  The legislature further finds that to encourage those people to serve as foster parents, it is necessary to assure that such insurance is available to them.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 74.14B RCW to read as follows:

     (1) Subject to subsection (2) of this section, the secretary of social and health services shall provide liability insurance to foster parents licensed under chapter 74.15 RCW.  The coverage shall be for personal injury and property damage alleged to have occurred within their capacity as foster parents.  Such insurance may not provide coverage for illegal conduct or bad faith acts taken in providing foster care on the part of the foster parents.  No money shall be paid from liability insurance under this section unless all proceeds available to the claimant from any other valid and collectible liability insurance shall have been exhausted.

     (2) The secretary of social and health services may purchase the insurance required in subsection (1) of this section or may choose a self-insurance method.  The total moneys expended pursuant to this authorization shall not exceed five hundred thousand dollars per biennium.  If the secretary elects a method of self-insurance, the expenditure shall include all administrative and staff costs.  If the secretary elects a method of self-insurance, he or she may, by rule, place a limit on the maximum amount to be paid on each claim.

     (3) Nothing in this section or section 3 of this act is intended to modify the foster parent reimbursement plan in place on the effective date of this act.

     (4) The liability insurance program shall be available by July 1, 1991.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  A new section is added to chapter 4.24 RCW to read as follows:

     The liability of foster parents licensed pursuant to chapter 74.15 RCW for the care and supervision of foster children shall be the same as the liability of biological and adoptive parents for the care and supervision of their children.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.      If specific funding for the purposes of this act, referencing this act by bill number, is not provided by June 30, 1991, in the omnibus appropriations act, this act shall be null and void.