BILL REQ. #:  S-1663.1 


State of Washington63rd Legislature2013 Regular Session

By Senate Human Services & Corrections (originally sponsored by Senators Darneille, Litzow, Hargrove, Murray, Nelson, Carrell, Pearson, Fain, Mullet, Harper, Tom, Rivers, Hewitt, Hill, and Keiser)

READ FIRST TIME 02/21/13.   

     AN ACT Relating to measuring performance of the child welfare system; adding a new section to chapter 74.13 RCW; and creating a new section.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   (1) The legislature recognizes that the goals of the child welfare system are to protect the safety, permanence, and well-being of the children it serves. The legislature further recognizes the importance of maintaining publicly accessible data that tracks the performance of the child welfare system, leading to transparency and public understanding of the system.
     (2) The legislature believes it is important to measure safety, permanence, and well-being such that the public and the legislature understand how the child welfare system is performing. This information will also serve the legislature in determining priorities for investment of public dollars as well as need for substantive legislative changes to facilitate improvement.
      The agencies will not disclose individually identifiable private information except as allowable under federal and state law.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2   A new section is added to chapter 74.13 RCW to read as follows:
     (1) A university-based child welfare research entity and the department, in collaboration with other stakeholders, shall develop measurements in the areas of safety, permanence, and well-being using existing and available data. Measurements must be calculated from data used in the routine work of the state agencies' data and information technology departments. Any new record linkage or data-matching activities required in fulfillment of this section may be performed by the research entity pursuant to agreements developed under subsection (6) of this section. The state agencies include any agency or subagency providing data used in the integrated client database maintained by the research and data analysis division of the department. Data must be shared subject to applicable federal and state law.
     (2) All measurements must use a methodology accepted by the scientific community. Wherever possible, all measurements must address any disproportionate racial and ethnic inequality.
     (3) The initial measurements must be developed by October 31, 2013.
     (4) The measurements may not require the state agencies to revise their data collection systems, nor to provide individually identifiable information.
     (5) The state agencies shall provide the research entity with all measurement data related to the measures developed under this section at least quarterly, consistent with subsection (3) of this section, beginning January 1, 2014. The research entity shall make data publicly available. The research entity shall report on the data to the legislature and the governor annually starting December 31, 2014.
     (6) By July 1, 2014, the state agencies shall execute agreements with the research entity to enable sharing of data sufficient to comply with this section.
     (7) The fact that the research entity has chosen to:
     (a) Use a specific measure;
     (b) Use a specific baseline; or
     (c) Compare any measure to a baseline
is not admissible as evidence of negligence by the department in a civil action.

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