BILL REQ. #:  S-1885.1 


State of Washington61st Legislature2009 Regular Session

By Senate Human Services & Corrections (originally sponsored by Senators Shin, Kauffman, and Berkey)

READ FIRST TIME 02/23/09.   

     AN ACT Relating to the adoption support program; and amending RCW 74.13.109 and 74.13.250.


Sec. 1   RCW 74.13.109 and 1990 c 285 s 7 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) The secretary shall issue rules and regulations to assist in the administration of the program of adoption support authorized by RCW 26.33.320 and 74.13.100 through 74.13.145.
     (2) Disbursements from the appropriations available from the general fund shall be made pursuant to such rules and regulations and pursuant to agreements conforming thereto to be made by the secretary with parents for the purpose of supporting the adoption of children in, or likely to be placed in, foster homes or child caring institutions who are found by the secretary to be difficult to place in adoption because of physical or other reasons; including, but not limited to, physical or mental handicap, emotional disturbance, ethnic background, language, race, color, age, or sibling grouping.
     (3) Such agreements shall meet the following criteria:
     (((1))) (a) The child whose adoption is to be supported pursuant to such agreement shall be or have been a child hard to place in adoption.
     (((2))) (b) Such agreement must relate to a child who was or is residing in a foster home or child-caring institution or a child who, in the judgment of the secretary, is both eligible for, and likely to be placed in, either a foster home or a child-caring institution.
     (((3))) (c) Such agreement shall provide that adoption support shall not continue beyond the time that the adopted child reaches eighteen years of age, becomes emancipated, dies, or otherwise ceases to need support, provided that if the secretary shall find that continuing dependency of such child after such child reaches eighteen years of age warrants the continuation of support pursuant to RCW 26.33.320 and 74.13.100 through 74.13.145 the secretary may do so, subject to all the provisions of RCW 26.33.320 and 74.13.100 through 74.13.145, including annual review of the amount of such support.
     (((4))) (d) Any prospective parent who is to be a party to such agreement shall be a person who has the character, judgment, sense of responsibility, and disposition which make him or her suitable as an adoptive parent of such child.
     (4) Six months before an adoption is finalized under chapter 26.33 RCW and RCW 74.13.100 through 74.13.145, the department must provide to the prospective adoptive parents, in writing, information describing the limits of the adoption support program including the following information:
     (a) The limits on monthly in-cash payments to adoptive families;
     (b) The limits on the availability of mental health services and the funds with which to pay for these services;
     (c) How to access mental health services for children receiving adoption support services;
     (d) The limits on the one-time cash payments to adoptive families for expenses related to their adopted children;
     (e) That payment for residential or group care is not available for adopted children under this chapter;
     (f) The risks inherent in adopting a child from the department.

Sec. 2   RCW 74.13.250 and 1990 c 284 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) Preservice training is recognized as a valuable tool to reduce placement disruptions, the length of time children are in care, and foster parent turnover rates. Preservice training also assists potential foster parents in making their final decisions about foster parenting and assists social service agencies in obtaining information about whether to approve potential foster parents.
     (2) Foster parent preservice training shall include information about the potential impact of placement on foster children; social service agency administrative processes; the requirements, responsibilities, expectations, and skills needed to be a foster parent; attachment, separation, and loss issues faced by birth parents, foster children, and foster parents; child management and discipline; birth family relationships; information on the limits of the adoption support program as provided in RCW 74.13.109(4); and helping children leave foster care. Preservice training shall assist applicants in making informed decisions about whether they want to be foster parents. Preservice training shall be designed to enable the agency to assess the ability, readiness, and appropriateness of families to be foster parents. As a decision tool, effective preservice training provides potential foster parents with enough information to make an appropriate decision, affords potential foster parents an opportunity to discuss their decision with others and consider its implications for their family, clarifies foster family expectations, presents a realistic picture of what foster parenting involves, and allows potential foster parents to consider and explore the different types of children they might serve.
     (3) Preservice training shall be completed prior to the issuance of a foster care license, except that the department may, on a case by case basis, issue a written waiver that allows the foster parent to complete the training after licensure, so long as the training is completed within ninety days following licensure.

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