S-3777.1          _______________________________________________


                                 SENATE BILL 6467



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1992 Regular Session


By Senators Stratton, Roach, Craswell, Talmadge, McDonald, L. Smith, Vognild, Owen, Rasmussen, W. Hansen, Murray, Snyder, Skratek, von Reichbauer and Gaspard


Read first time 02/03/92.  Referred to Committee on Children & Family Services.Establishing within the governor's office, the Washington council on children, youth, and families.

     AN ACT Relating to the Washington council on children, youth, and family; amending RCW 74.14A.020; adding new sections to chapter 43.06 RCW; creating new sections; and making an appropriation.




     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.      The legislature finds that a primary goal of public involvement in the lives of children has been to strengthen the family unit. 

     However, the legislature recognizes that traditional two-parent families with one parent routinely at home are now in the minority.  In addition, extended family and natural community supports have eroded drastically.  The legislature recognizes that public policy assumptions must be altered to account for this new social reality.  Expanded public effort to support, strengthen, and help refashion family and community associations to care for children is now required of government.

     For these reasons, it is the purpose of this act to modify public  policy and programs to empower communities to support and respond to the needs of individual families and children.  The state shall focus public policy on community strategies that empower families to preserve and protect their children, and support alternative community environments for children who are out of the care of their family.


     Sec. 2.  RCW 74.14A.020 and 1983 c 192 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:

     ((The department of social and health services)) (1) State efforts shall address the needs of children and their families, including emotionally disturbed and mentally ill children, potentially dependent children, and families-in-conflict by:

     (((1))) (a) Serving children and families as a unit in the least restrictive setting available and in close proximity to the family home, consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child;

     (((2))) (b) Ensuring that appropriate social and health services are provided to the family unit both prior to the removal of a child from the home and after family reunification;

     (((3))) (c) Recognizing the interdependent and changing nature of families and communities, building upon their inherent strengths, maintaining their dignity and respect, and tailoring programs to their specific circumstances;

     (d) Developing and implementing comprehensive, preventive, and early intervention social and health services which have demonstrated the ability to delay or reduce the need for out-of-home placements and ameliorate problems before they become chronic or severe;

     (((4))) (e) Being sensitive to the family and community culture, norms, values, and expectations, and ensuring participation of ethnic minorities at all levels of planning, delivery, and evaluation efforts.  However, cultural sensitivity should not preclude cross cultural child care or adoption arrangement where these can promote the best interests of the child;

     (f)(i) Developing coordinated social and health services which:

     (((a))) (A) Identify problems experienced by children and their families early and provide services which are adequate in availability, appropriate to the situation, and effective;

     (((b))) (B) Seek to bring about meaningful change before family situations become irreversibly destructive and before disturbed psychological behavioral patterns and health problems become severe or permanent;

     (((c))) (C) Serve children and families in their own homes thus preventing unnecessary out-of-home placement or institutionalization;

     (((d))) (D) Focus resources on social and health problems as they begin to manifest themselves rather than waiting for chronic and severe patterns of illness, criminality, and dependency to develop which require long-term treatment, maintenance, or custody;

     (((e))) (E) Reduce duplication of and gaps in service delivery;

     (((f))) (F) Improve planning, budgeting, and communication among all units of the department serving children and families; and

     (((g))) (G) Develop outcome standards for measuring the effectiveness of social and health services for children and families.

     (ii) In developing services under this subsection, local communities must be partners in planning and developing support networks that are tailored to their unique needs.

     (2) The legislature recognizes that full implementation of the intent stated in section 1 of this act and this section, will require a fundamental reform of the values, attitudes, and behavior of virtually all persons, professional disciplines and operating assumptions within public and private agencies concerned with children, youth, and families.  It is the legislature's intention to encourage this change through the provisions of sections 3 through 5 of this act.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.      There is established in the executive office of the governor, reporting directly to the governor and the legislature, the Washington council on children, youth, and families.

     The council shall be composed of no less than twelve persons to be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate, who have direct experience in helping cope with the problems of children, youth, or families, and who, together represent the state's geographic, ethnic, and cultural diversity.

     Members shall serve four-year terms and may be reimbursed according to RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.

     The governor may appoint up to six ex officio members from his or her cabinet who must regularly attend council meetings and provide assistance to the council in its deliberations, but who may not vote or direct any aspect of the council's activities.

     In addition, the senate and the house of representatives each may designate the chair and ranking minority member of one of their relevant standing committees of reference to serve as ex officio members.

     The governor shall appoint a chair from among the council's voting members.

     The council shall employ an executive director, a full-time staff assistant, and a clerical assistant.  The council may employ such other personnel as are needed to carry out the council's duties under sections 3 through 5 of this act, within available resources.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.      The council shall:

     (1) Review the programs, policies, and services for children, youth, and families provided by public and private agencies, including those concerned with education, social services, juvenile justice, law enforcement, community development, employment, and health for the consistency of their efforts with the policy goals stated in section 1 of this act and RCW 74.14A.020;

     (2) Search for any interdepartmental gaps, inconsistencies, and inefficiencies in these agencies' efforts relative to attainment of the policy goals in section 1 of this act and RCW 74.14A.020;

     (3) Identify and advocate for changes in any statute, regulation, procedure, program, budget, organization, professional training, or other activity that would promote closer harmony with the policy goals in section 1 of this act and RCW 74.14A.020;

     (4) Facilitate joint planning and service coordination among public and private agencies as described in subsection (1) of this section;

     (5) Accept appropriations, gifts, loans, and grants from public and private agencies;

     (6) Provide leadership to all children and family service efforts in the state by disseminating information on effective programs and activities, and by contracting with public and private agencies for research, demonstration, or pilot projects;

     (7) Encourage the formation of local councils on children, youth, and families where they do not now exist in any form, or encourage the modification of existing local councils that bring together representatives of public and private agencies described in subsection (1) of this section to jointly plan, coordinate, or operate activities in support of the purposes of sections 3 through 5 of this act; and

     (8) Report regularly to the governor and legislature regarding its progress in implementing sections 3 through 5 of this act, including any specific recommendations for budgetary, statutory, or regulatory  change.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.      To the extent that any power or duty of the council created according to sections 3 through 5 of this act may duplicate efforts of existing councils, commissions, advisory committees, or other entities, the governor is authorized to take necessary actions to eliminate such duplication.  This shall include authority to consolidate similar councils or activities in a manner consistent with the goals of sections 3 through 5 of this act.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6.      Sections 3 through 5 of this act are each added to chapter 43.06 RCW.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 7.      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 governor for the purposes of this act.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 8.      If specific funding for the purposes of this act, referencing this act by bill number, is not provided by June 30, 1992, in the omnibus appropriations act, this act shall be null and void.