S-3951               _______________________________________________


                                                   SENATE BILL NO. 6516



State of Washington                               51st Legislature                              1990 Regular Session


By Senators Bailey, Stratton, Bauer and Bluechel



Read first time 1/17/90 and referred to Committee on  Children & Family Services.



AN ACT Relating to child care services for homeless families; adding a new section to chapter 74.15 RCW; creating a new section; making an appropriation; and providing an effective date.




          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.     The legislature finds that specialized child care services are needed to meet the needs of homeless children below school age to improve their physical, social, medical, and emotional state.  These services will prevent later educational and social failures and resulting societal costs.  Continuity in child care arrangements is vital for children who are experiencing constant disruption in their living arrangements.

          The legislature further finds that homeless parents, in order to achieve independence, need an appropriate place to provide care for their children while they seek or maintain employment, attend treatment, seek permanent housing, or obtain respite from the stress in their lives.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 74.15 RCW to read as follows:

          (1) For the purposes of this section:

          (a) "Homeless" means persons, including families, who, on one particular day or night, do not have a decent and safe shelter nor sufficient funds to purchase a place to stay or whose primary nighttime residence is an emergency shelter or transitional housing program for homeless persons.

          (b) "Specialized child care" means all-day care that is developmentally appropriate child care for homeless children provided by specialized child care centers or by purchase of existing slots in community child care centers or family day care homes.

          (c) "Respite child care" means drop-in, custodial child care for children where specialized child care is not practical, such as in communities with small shelter populations or for families housed in hotels or motels under "voucher" programs as provided in chapter 74.50 RCW.

          (2) The department shall, within the funds appropriated for this purpose, contract with eligible providers for specialized child care and respite care for children of homeless parents.  The total allocation to providers within a county shall be no less than:

          (a) Twenty-five thousand dollars per fiscal year in any county that had at least one hundred children under the age of five served in emergency shelters the preceding year as reported by the department of community development; or

          (b) Ten thousand dollars per fiscal year in any county that had less than one hundred children under the age of five served in emergency shelters the preceding year as reported by the department of community development.

          Providers shall demonstrate that licensed child care facilities are available to provide specialized child care for children under the age of six.  Respite child care providers shall demonstrate that respite child care is available for children under the age of six.  Child care services provided by shelters are subject to department of community development rules on applicant eligibility criteria.

          (3) Local funds used for child care services for the homeless that are replaced by funds provided under this section shall continue to be used for services for homeless children.

          (4) Providers of respite child care are required to submit to a felony background check through the state patrol.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.     The sum of one million three hundred seventy-four thousand four hundred dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated from the general fund to the department of social and health services for the biennium ending June 30, 1991, to carry out the purposes of this act.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.     This act shall take effect July 1, 1990.