BILL REQ. #:  H-2382.1 


State of Washington60th Legislature2007 Regular Session

By House Committee on Early Learning & Children's Services (originally sponsored by Representatives Dickerson, Haler, Pettigrew, Conway, Hunt, Walsh, Dunshee, Upthegrove, Chase, Blake, Williams, Appleton, Sells, Armstrong, Green, Moeller, Darneille, Simpson, Takko, Kenney, Hasegawa, Santos and Schual-Berke)

READ FIRST TIME 02/28/07.   

     AN ACT Relating to the duties of the department of social and health services; reenacting and amending RCW 74.13.031; creating a new section; and providing an expiration date.


Sec. 1   RCW 74.13.031 and 2006 c 266 s 1 and 2006 c 221 s 3 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
     The department shall have the duty to provide child welfare services and shall:
     (1) Develop, administer, supervise, and monitor a coordinated and comprehensive plan that establishes, aids, and strengthens services for the protection and care of runaway, dependent, or neglected children.
     (2) Within available resources, recruit an adequate number of prospective adoptive and foster homes, both regular and specialized, i.e. homes for children of ethnic minority, including Indian homes for Indian children, sibling groups, handicapped and emotionally disturbed, teens, pregnant and parenting teens, and annually report to the governor and the legislature concerning the department's success in: (a) Meeting the need for adoptive and foster home placements; (b) reducing the foster parent turnover rate; (c) completing home studies for legally free children; and (d) implementing and operating the passport program required by RCW 74.13.285. The report shall include a section entitled "Foster Home Turn-Over, Causes and Recommendations."
     (3) Investigate complaints of any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker that results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, or sexual abuse or exploitation, or that presents an imminent risk of serious harm, and on the basis of the findings of such investigation, offer child welfare services in relation to the problem to such parents, legal custodians, or persons serving in loco parentis, and/or bring the situation to the attention of an appropriate court, or another community agency: PROVIDED, That an investigation is not required of nonaccidental injuries which are clearly not the result of a lack of care or supervision by the child's parents, legal custodians, or persons serving in loco parentis. If the investigation reveals that a crime against a child may have been committed, the department shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency.
     (4) Offer, on a voluntary basis, family reconciliation services to families who are in conflict.
     (5) Monitor out-of-home placements, on a timely and routine basis, to assure the safety, well-being, and quality of care being provided is within the scope of the intent of the legislature as defined in RCW 74.13.010 and 74.15.010, and annually submit a report measuring the extent to which the department achieved the specified goals to the governor and the legislature.
     (6) Have authority to accept custody of children from parents and to accept custody of children from juvenile courts, where authorized to do so under law, to provide child welfare services including placement for adoption, to provide for the routine and necessary medical, dental, and mental health care, or necessary emergency care of the children, and to provide for the physical care of such children and make payment of maintenance costs if needed. Except where required by Public Law 95-608 (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1915), no private adoption agency which receives children for adoption from the department shall discriminate on the basis of race, creed, or color when considering applications in their placement for adoption.
     (7) Have authority to provide temporary shelter to children who have run away from home and who are admitted to crisis residential centers.
     (8) Have authority to purchase care for children; and shall follow in general the policy of using properly approved private agency services for the actual care and supervision of such children insofar as they are available, paying for care of such children as are accepted by the department as eligible for support at reasonable rates established by the department.
     (9) Establish a children's services advisory committee which shall assist the secretary in the development of a partnership plan for utilizing resources of the public and private sectors, and advise on all matters pertaining to child welfare, licensing of child care agencies, adoption, and services related thereto. At least one member shall represent the adoption community.
     (10)(a) Have authority to provide continued foster care or group care as needed to participate in or complete a high school or vocational school program.
     (b)(i) Beginning in 2006, the department has the authority to allow up to fifty youth reaching age eighteen to continue in foster care or group care as needed to participate in or complete a posthigh school academic or vocational program, and to receive necessary support and transition services.
     (ii) In 2007 and 2008, the department has the authority to allow up to fifty additional youth per year reaching age eighteen to remain in foster care or group care as provided in (b)(i) of this subsection.
     (iii) A youth who remains eligible for such placement and services pursuant to department rules may continue in foster care or group care until the youth reaches his or her twenty-first birthday. Eligibility requirements shall include active enrollment in a posthigh school academic or vocational program and maintenance of a 2.0 grade point average.
     (11) Refer cases to the division of child support whenever state or federal funds are expended for the care and maintenance of a child, including a child with a developmental disability who is placed as a result of an action under chapter 13.34 RCW, unless the department finds that there is good cause not to pursue collection of child support against the parent or parents of the child. Cases involving individuals age eighteen through twenty shall not be referred to the division of child support unless required by federal law.
     (12) Have authority within funds appropriated for foster care services to purchase care for Indian children who are in the custody of a federally recognized Indian tribe or tribally licensed child-placing agency pursuant to parental consent, tribal court order, or state juvenile court order; and the purchase of such care shall be subject to the same eligibility standards and rates of support applicable to other children for whom the department purchases care.
     Notwithstanding any other provision of RCW 13.32A.170 through 13.32A.200 and 74.13.032 through 74.13.036, or of this section all services to be provided by the department of social and health services under subsections (4), (6), and (7) of this section, subject to the limitations of these subsections, may be provided by any program offering such services funded pursuant to Titles II and III of the federal juvenile justice and delinquency prevention act of 1974.
     (13) Within amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, provide preventive services to families with children that prevent or shorten the duration of an out-of-home placement.
     (14) Have authority to provide independent living services to youths, including individuals who have attained eighteen years of age, and have not attained twenty-one years of age who are or have been in foster care.
     (15) Consult at least quarterly with licensed foster parents and any association or group of licensed foster parents for the purpose of receiving information and comment regarding how the department is performing the duties and meeting the obligations specified in RCW 74.13.031, 74.13.250, and 74.13.320 regarding the recruitment of foster homes, reducing foster parent turnover rates, providing effective training for foster parents, and administering a coordinated and comprehensive plan that strengthens services for the protection of children. Consultation shall occur at the regional and statewide levels.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2   The department of social and health services shall consult with licensed foster parents, including any association or group of licensed foster parents, and with child welfare professionals from the public, private, and academic communities regarding the need for and the feasibility of creating tiered classifications for foster parent licensing, including a professional foster parent classification. The department shall report its recommendations to the appropriate committees of the legislature by January 1, 2008.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3   Section 2 of this act expires January 1, 2008.

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