3145-S2.E AMS HSC STRU 009





   By    By Committee on Human Services & Corrections


ADOPTED 3/06/2008


   Strike everything after the enacting clause and insert the following:

   "NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature recognizes that the work done by the work group convened under chapter 413, Laws of 2007 was an initial step in developing a specialized foster home program. The legislature finds that the department should build upon this initial work and continue to work with stakeholders to put together specific recommendations on the qualifications and training specialized foster parents will need, the criteria by which eligible high/special needs foster children will be selected and the cost of implementing this program statewide. The legislature also finds that the department should consider whether it is more appropriate that this specialized group of providers be designated as something other than foster parents. The legislature intends that the department, in developing this plan, consider that the specialized foster home program is a potential collective bargaining unit.


   NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. (1) The department shall develop a specific plan to create a specialized foster home program.

   (2) In developing this plan, the department shall use the information gathered by the work group convened under chapter 413, Laws of 2007, and shall actively:

   (a) Seek recommendations from foster parents and other out-of-home service providers across the state regarding the qualifications and requirements of specialized foster home providers, the needs of the children to be served, and the desired outcomes to be measured or monitored; and

   (b) Consult with experts in child welfare, children's mental health, and children's health care to identify the evidence-based or promising practice models to be employed in the program and the appropriate supports to ensure program fidelity, including, but not limited to, the necessary training and clinical consultation and oversight to be provided to specialized foster homes.

   (3) The plan developed by the department under this section shall include:

   (a) The criteria by which specialized foster home providers shall be chosen. The criteria shall include at a minimum that the foster parent be licensed by the department as a foster parent, and shall meet additional requirements relating to relevant experience, education, training, and professional expertise necessary to meet the high/special needs of children identified as eligible for this program;

   (b) The criteria by which children with high/special needs are deemed eligible for placement with a specialized foster home provider. Such criteria shall be based on the best interests of the child and shall include an assessment of the child's past and current level of functioning, including exposure to parental substance abuse, as well as a determination that the child's treatment plan and developmental needs are consistent with the placement plan;

   (c) A policy for the placement of children with high/special needs in specialized foster homes, including a process for matching the child's needs with the foster parent's skills and expertise;

   (d) A limit on the number and ages of children with high/special needs that may be placed in each specialized foster home;

   (e) The identification of one or more approved models of skill building for use by specialized foster home providers;

   (f) The specific training and consultation requirements that support the models of skill building;

   (g) The development of a system of supports, including clinical consultation and oversight for specialized foster homes;

   (h) The development of a level of stipend payments to specialized foster home providers that is not tied to deficits in the child's level of functioning;

   (i) The development of clearly defined responsibilities of specialized foster home providers to include responsibilities to promote permanence and connections with birth parents; and

   (j) The development of a process for annual performance reviews of specialized foster home providers.

   (4) In creating the plan required under subsection (2) of this section, the department shall give consideration to the fact that this group of providers may create a potential future collective bargaining unit, if authorized in the future.

   (5) The department shall include in the plan cost estimates for implementation of the specialized foster home program on a statewide basis.

   (6) In developing the plan, the department is directed to consider and discuss with stakeholders whether the providers identified in the plan as meeting the requirements for dealing with high/special needs foster children should be referred to or classified as other than foster parents.


   NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. The department shall submit its plan to the appropriate legislative committees no later than November 15, 2008. Until such time as the legislature approves a specialized foster home program, the department shall not take steps to implement such a program."


   E2SHB 3145 - S COMM AMD

          By Committee on Human Services & Corrections


   On page 1, line 2 of the title, after "licensing;" strike the remainder of the title and insert "and creating new sections."


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EFFECT: Requires DSHS to develop a plan to create a specialized foster home program that will set criteria that foster parents must meet to participate in the program. It also requires DSHS to include in the plan the criteria by which high/special needs children will be chosen to be placed in one of these homes as well as the costs for implementation of this plan statewide. The plan is due to the appropriate committees of the legislature no later than November 15, 2008.