BILL REQ. #: S-0921.1
|State of Washington||63rd Legislature||2013 Regular Session|
Read first time 02/01/13. Referred to Committee on Human Services & Corrections.
AN ACT Relating to measuring performance of the child welfare system; adding new sections to chapter 74.13 RCW; and creating a new section.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
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 accountability of and public confidence in the
system. The legislature acknowledges that, although there have been
many efforts to improve the child welfare system, including
legislation, policy making, and litigation, and while all of these
efforts have led to improvements to the system, there has not been a
comprehensive legislative mandate regarding the comprehensive
functionality of the child welfare system.
(2) The legislature believes it is important to address the need to codify key indicators of safety, permanence, and well-being such that the public and the legislature understand how the child welfare system is performing at any given time. 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.
(3) The legislature intends the primary purpose of this legislation to be the assessment of the success of the department of social and health services' practices in achieving its objectives. The reports will be used to provide feedback to the department. The agencies referenced in section 3 of this act 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:
The indicators of safety, permanency, and well-being described in this section must be used to measure the delivery of appropriate services for the children and families served by the child welfare system, to identify areas for future improvements to the child welfare system, and to maintain public accountability.
(1) The following are the safety indicators that must be used:
(a) The recurrence of safety concerns, such as recontact with the child welfare system, regarding children in home;
(b) The recurrence of safety concerns regarding children in out-of-home care; and
(c) Placement prevention.
(2) The following are the permanency indicators that must be used:
(a) Safe reunification of children placed in out-of-home care;
(b) Length of time to permanence for children placed in out-of-home care; and
(c) Placement stability for children placed in out-of-home care.
(3) The following are the well-being indicators that must be used:
(a) Maintenance of family relationships for children placed in out-of-home care;
(b) Levels of educational readiness and attainment for children served by the child welfare system;
(c) Behavioral and physical health of children served by the child welfare system; and
(d) Adult functioning of youth who have aged out of the child welfare system, including social integration and independence.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3 A new section is added to chapter 74.13 RCW
to read as follows:
(1) A university-based child welfare research entity, in cooperation with the department and other stakeholders, shall develop measurements for each of the indicators in section 2 of this act 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 and section 2 of this act must 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 research entity shall develop the measurements by October 31, 2013.
(4) The measurements developed by the research entity may not require the state agencies to revise their data collection systems, nor to provide individually identifiable information under RCW 42.56.320.
(5) The state agencies shall provide the research entity with all measurement data at least quarterly, consistent with subsection (3) of this section, beginning January 1, 2014. The research entity shall make the data publicly available and shall issue a public report at least twice a year, beginning on September 1, 2014. The research entity shall report on the data to the legislature and the governor annually starting December 31, 2014.
(6) By December 31, 2013, the state agencies shall execute agreements with the research entity to enable sharing of data sufficient to comply with this section and section 2 of this act.