SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5660
State of Washington 55th Legislature 1997 Regular Session
By Senate Committee on Human Services & Corrections (originally sponsored by Senators Kohl, Long, Hargrove and Winsley)
Read first time 02/21/97.
AN ACT Relating to out-of-home care; amending RCW 74.15.130; reenacting and amending RCW 74.15.020; adding new sections to chapter 74.15 RCW; creating new sections; and prescribing penalties.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature finds that consumers of child care services have a legitimate interest in receiving timely information about child care service providers in order to make meaningful choices regarding the facilities and people who provide care for their children. The legislature further finds that as a result of improvements in information management systems, the state's ability to provide relevant information to child care service consumers has also improved.
The legislature finds that parents often do not receive timely information about enforcement actions when complaints are made alleging serious issues affecting the health or safety of children. The legislature intends to utilize the state's improved ability to collect and manage information about child care service providers by requiring that all relevant licensing actions and enforcement actions be reported to appropriate individuals and organizations in a timely manner. The legislature further intends to authorize the department to report such information to the general public when necessary and appropriate for the health or safety of children.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 74.15 RCW to read as follows:
(1) Every child day-care center and family day-care provider shall prominently post the following items, clearly visible to parents and staff:
(a) The license issued under this chapter;
(b) The notice of any pending enforcement action. The notice must be posted immediately upon receipt. The notice must be posted for at least two weeks or until the violation causing the enforcement action is corrected, whichever is longer;
(c) A notice that inspection reports and any notices of enforcement actions for the previous three years are available from the licensee and the department; and
(d) Any other information required by the department.
(2) The department is authorized to report to the general public and counterpart licensing departments in other states, as may be necessary and appropriate to protect the health or safety of children, any information that is required to be reported under subsection (1) of this section.
(3) If the child day-care center or family day-care provider is later found to have not committed the acts or conduct justifying the enforcement action under subsection (1) or (2) of this section, the department shall forthwith prepare a notice of public exoneration. The department shall report the public exoneration to the same people and entities, and in the same manner, who received a report under subsection (1) or (2) of this section. Such notice must also be maintained as part of the department's permanent record of the enforcement action.
(4) The department shall disclose, upon request, the receipt, general nature, and resolution or current status of all complaints on record with the department after the effective date of this act against a child day-care center or family day-care provider that result in an enforcement action.
This section shall not be construed to require the disclosure of any information that is exempt from public disclosure under chapter 42.17 RCW.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. A new section is added to chapter 74.15 RCW to read as follows:
(1) Every child day-care center and family day-care provider shall have readily available for review by the department, parents, and the public a copy of each inspection report and notice of enforcement action received by the center or provider from the department for the past three years. This subsection only applies to reports and notices received on or after the effective date of this act.
(2) The department shall make available to the public during business hours all inspection reports and notices of enforcement actions involving child day-care centers and family day-care providers. The department shall include in the inspection report a statement of the corrective measures taken by the center or provider.
Sec. 4. RCW 74.15.130 and 1995 c 302 s 5 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) An agency may be denied a license, or any license issued pursuant to chapter 74.15 RCW and RCW 74.13.031 may be suspended, revoked, modified, or not renewed by the secretary upon proof (a) that the agency has failed or refused to comply with the provisions of chapter 74.15 RCW and RCW 74.13.031 or the requirements promulgated pursuant to the provisions of chapter 74.15 RCW and RCW 74.13.031; or (b) that the conditions required for the issuance of a license under chapter 74.15 RCW and RCW 74.13.031 have ceased to exist with respect to such licenses. RCW 43.20A.205 governs notice of a license denial, revocation, suspension, or modification and provides the right to an adjudicative proceeding.
(2) In any adjudicative proceeding regarding the denial, modification, suspension, or revocation of a foster family home license, the department's decision shall be upheld if there is reasonable cause to believe that:
(a) The applicant or licensee lacks the character, suitability, or competence to care for children placed in out-of-home care;
(b) The applicant or licensee has failed or refused to comply with any provision of chapter 74.15 RCW, RCW 74.13.031, or the requirements adopted pursuant to such provisions; or
(c) The conditions required for issuance of a license under chapter 74.15 RCW and RCW 74.13.031 have ceased to exist with respect to such licenses.
(3) In any adjudicative proceeding regarding the denial, modification, suspension, or revocation of any license under this chapter, other than a foster family home license, the department's decision shall be upheld if it is supported by a preponderance of the evidence.
(4) The department may assess civil monetary penalties upon proof that an agency has failed or refused to comply with the rules adopted under the provisions of this chapter and RCW 74.13.031 or that an agency subject to licensing under this chapter and RCW 74.13.031 is operating without a license except that civil monetary penalties shall not be levied against a licensed foster home. Monetary penalties levied against unlicensed agencies that submit an application for licensure within thirty days of notification and subsequently become licensed will be forgiven. These penalties may be assessed in addition to or in lieu of other disciplinary actions. Civil monetary penalties, if imposed, may be assessed and collected, with interest, for each day an agency is or was out of compliance. Civil monetary penalties shall not exceed seventy-five dollars per violation for a family day-care home and two hundred fifty dollars per violation for group homes, child day-care centers, and child-placing agencies. Each day upon which the same or substantially similar action occurs is a separate violation subject to the assessment of a separate penalty. The department shall provide a notification period before a monetary penalty is effective and may forgive the penalty levied if the agency comes into compliance during this period. The department may suspend, revoke, or not renew a license for failure to pay a civil monetary penalty it has assessed pursuant to this chapter within ten days after such assessment becomes final. Chapter 43.20A RCW governs notice of a civil monetary penalty and provides the right of an adjudicative proceeding. The preponderance of evidence standard shall apply in adjudicative proceedings related to assessment of civil monetary penalties.
(5)(a) The department may place a child day-care center or family day-care provider on nonreferral status or stop placement status if the center or provider has failed or refused to comply with this chapter or rules adopted under this chapter and an enforcement action has been taken. The nonreferral status or stop placement status may continue until the department determines that: (i) No enforcement action is appropriate; (ii) a complaint is not founded or valid; or (iii) a corrective action plan has been successfully concluded. The department shall then remove the center or provider from nonreferral status and provide appropriate notice to the public and private child care resource and referral agencies.
(b) The department shall notify appropriate public and private child care resource and referral agencies of the department's decision to take an enforcement action against the center or provider.
(6) Whenever an enforcement action is taken, the department shall notify the agency subject to the action in writing by certified mail within two business days.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. A new section is added to chapter 74.15 RCW to read as follows:
(1) The department shall compile an annual report summarizing all enforcement actions for the previous fiscal year relating to children in the care of child day-care centers and family day-care providers. The report must be provided to the legislature, the child care coordinating committee, and child care resource and referral agencies by August 1st of each year beginning in 1998.
(2) The report must include, at a minimum: (a) An analysis of the volume and general nature of all reports and disclosures made by the department as required or authorized under section 2 of this act; (b) an analysis of the volume and general nature of the enforcement actions, pending complaint investigations, and ongoing corrective action plans for which the department placed centers and providers on nonreferral or stop placement status under section 3 of this act; (c) an analysis of the volume and general nature of complaints determined to be invalid, inconclusive, or unfounded; and (d) information about the average length of time required by the department to complete investigations determined to be (i) founded or valid, (ii) inconclusive, and (iii) invalid or unfounded.
Sec. 6. RCW 74.15.020 and 1995 c 311 s 18 and 1995 c 302 s 3 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
For the purpose of chapter 74.15 RCW and RCW 74.13.031, and unless otherwise clearly indicated by the context thereof, the following terms shall mean:
"Department" means the state department of social and health
"Secretary" means the secretary of social and health services; (3))) "Adverse
licensing action" means a denial, suspension, revocation, modification, or
nonrenewal of a license pursuant to RCW 74.15.130, or issuance of a
probationary license pursuant to RCW 74.15.125.
(2) "Agency" means any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, or facility which receives children, expectant mothers, or persons with developmental disabilities for control, care, or maintenance outside their own homes, or which places, arranges the placement of, or assists in the placement of children, expectant mothers, or persons with developmental disabilities for foster care or placement of children for adoption, and shall include the following irrespective of whether there is compensation to the agency or to the children, expectant mothers or persons with developmental disabilities for services rendered:
(a) "Group-care facility" means an agency, other than a foster-family home, which is maintained and operated for the care of a group of children on a twenty-four hour basis;
(b) "Child-placing agency" means an agency which places a child or children for temporary care, continued care, or for adoption;
(c) "Maternity service" means an agency which provides or arranges for care or services to expectant mothers, before or during confinement, or which provides care as needed to mothers and their infants after confinement;
(d) "Child day-care center" means an agency which regularly provides care for a group of children for periods of less than twenty-four hours;
(e) "Family day-care provider" means a child day-care provider who regularly provides child day care for not more than twelve children in the provider's home in the family living quarters;
(f) "Foster-family home" means an agency which regularly provides care on a twenty-four hour basis to one or more children, expectant mothers, or persons with developmental disabilities in the family abode of the person or persons under whose direct care and supervision the child, expectant mother, or person with a developmental disability is placed;
(g) "Crisis residential center" means an agency which is a temporary protective residential facility operated to perform the duties specified in chapter 13.32A RCW, in the manner provided in RCW 74.13.032 through 74.13.036.
(3) "Agency" shall not include the following:
(a) Persons related to the child, expectant mother, or person with developmental disabilities in the following ways:
(i) Any blood relative, including those of half blood, and including first cousins, nephews or nieces, and persons of preceding generations as denoted by prefixes of grand, great, or great-great;
(ii) Stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, and stepsister;
(iii) A person who legally adopts a child or the child's parent as well as the natural and other legally adopted children of such persons, and other relatives of the adoptive parents in accordance with state law;
(iv) Spouses of any persons named in (a)(i), (ii), or (iii) of this subsection, even after the marriage is terminated; or
(v) Extended family members, as defined by the law or custom of the Indian child's tribe or, in the absence of such law or custom, a person who has reached the age of eighteen and who is the Indian child's grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, niece or nephew, first or second cousin, or stepparent who provides care in the family abode on a twenty-four-hour basis to an Indian child as defined in 25 U.S.C. Sec. 1903(4);
(b) Persons who are legal guardians of the child, expectant mother, or persons with developmental disabilities;
(c) Persons who care for a neighbor's or friend's child or children, with or without compensation, where: (i) The person providing care for periods of less than twenty-four hours does not conduct such activity on an ongoing, regularly scheduled basis for the purpose of engaging in business, which includes, but is not limited to, advertising such care; or (ii) the parent and person providing care on a twenty-four-hour basis have agreed to the placement in writing and the state is not providing any payment for the care;
(d) Parents on a mutually cooperative basis exchange care of one another's children;
(e) A person, partnership, corporation, or other entity that provides placement or similar services to exchange students or international student exchange visitors or persons who have the care of an exchange student in their home;
(f) Nursery schools or kindergartens which are engaged primarily in educational work with preschool children and in which no child is enrolled on a regular basis for more than four hours per day;
(g) Schools, including boarding schools, which are engaged primarily in education, operate on a definite school year schedule, follow a stated academic curriculum, accept only school-age children and do not accept custody of children;
(h) Seasonal camps of three months' or less duration engaged primarily in recreational or educational activities;
(i) Hospitals licensed pursuant to chapter 70.41 RCW when performing functions defined in chapter 70.41 RCW, nursing homes licensed under chapter 18.51 RCW and boarding homes licensed under chapter 18.20 RCW;
(j) Licensed physicians or lawyers;
(k) Facilities providing care to children for periods of less than twenty-four hours whose parents remain on the premises to participate in activities other than employment;
(l) Facilities approved and certified under chapter 71A.22 RCW;
(m) Any agency having been in operation in this state ten years prior to June 8, 1967, and not seeking or accepting moneys or assistance from any state or federal agency, and is supported in part by an endowment or trust fund;
(n) Persons who have a child in their home for purposes of adoption, if the child was placed in such home by a licensed child-placing agency, an authorized public or tribal agency or court or if a replacement report has been filed under chapter 26.33 RCW and the placement has been approved by the court;
(o) An agency operated by any unit of local, state, or federal government or an agency, located within the boundaries of a federally recognized Indian reservation, licensed by the Indian tribe;
(p) An agency located on a federal military reservation, except where the military authorities request that such agency be subject to the licensing requirements of this chapter.
(4) "Department" means the state department of social and health services.
(5) "Enforcement action" means any disciplinary action taken by the department including:
(a) An adverse licensing action;
(b) Issuance of a deficiency statement, notification of a violation, or licensing compliance plan;
(c) A protective action including removal of a child or initiation of court proceedings; or
(d) Imposition of a civil penalty.
(6) "Probationary license" means a license issued as a disciplinary measure to an agency that has previously been issued a full license but is out of compliance with licensing standards.
(7) "Referent" means a person or agency who brings to the attention of the department a complaint or information resulting in an investigation or enforcement action.
(8) "Requirement" means any rule, regulation, or standard of care to be maintained by an agency.
"Probationary license" means a license issued as a disciplinary
measure to an agency that has previously been issued a full license but is out
of compliance with licensing standards.))
(9) "Secretary" means the secretary of social and health services.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. The department of social and health services shall adopt rules as necessary to implement sections 2 through 5 of this act.
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