SENATE BILL REPORT
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
As of February 1, 2019
Title: An act relating to services provided by the office of homeless youth prevention and protection programs.
Brief Description: Concerning services provided by the office of homeless youth prevention and protection programs.
Sponsors: Senators Kuderer, Zeiger, Darneille, Warnick, Wilson, C., Hasegawa, Keiser, Das, Frockt and Wellman; by request of Department of Commerce.
Committee Activity: Housing Stability & Affordability: 1/28/19.
Brief Summary of Bill
SENATE COMMITTEE ON HOUSING STABILITY & AFFORDABILITY
Staff: Brandon Popovac (786-7465)
Background: In 2015, the Legislature created the Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Programs (OHY) within the Department of Commerce (Commerce). OHY provides services for youth and young adults up to twenty-four years of age, including:
the Independent Youth Housing Program, which provides rental assistance and case management for eligible youth who have aged out of the state foster care system;
street youth services;
HOPE Centers; and
crisis residential centers (CRCs), which are short-term, semi-secure and secure facilities for runaway youth and adolescents in conflict with their families.
HOPE Centers. HOPE Centers provide voluntary and temporary residential placements for youths under age eighteen. Youth residing in a HOPE Center receive a comprehensive assessment that may include referrals and permanency planning. A youth may stay in a HOPE Center for up to 30 calendar days. A HOPE Center can extend a stay but not exceed 60 calendar days. HOPE Center administrators accompany a resident leaving the HOPE Center to attend school or other necessary appointments.
Street Youth Services. Street Youth Services provide voluntary and temporary residential placements for youths under age eighteen who live outdoors or in another unsafe location not intended for occupancy by the minor, and who is not residing with the minor's parent or at the minor's legally authorized residence.
Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Program Advisory Committee. Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Advisory (OHY) must regularly consult with an advisory committee, consisting of 12 members who are advocates, at least two legislators, at least two parent advocates, at least one representative from law enforcement, service providers, and other stakeholders knowledgeable in the provision of services to homeless youth and young adults; this includes the prevention of youth and young adult homelessness, the dependency system, and family reunification. The members of the advisory committee must be appointed by the Governor, except for the legislators who must be appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate.
Child in Need of Services. A child in need of services (CHINS) is defined as a child under age eighteen who meets at least one of the following requirements:
is beyond parental control such that the child's behavior endangers the health, safety, or welfare of the child or other person;
has been reported to law enforcement as absent without consent for at least 24 consecutive hours from the parent's home, a CRC, an out-of-home placement, or a court-ordered placement on two or more separate occasions and has exhibited a serious substance abuse problem or behaviors that create a serious risk of harm to the health, safety, or welfare of the child or any other person;
is in need of necessary services, including food, shelter, health care, clothing, educational, or services designed to maintain or reunite the family and lacks access to or has declined to utilize these services, and whose parents have evidenced continuing but unsuccessful efforts to maintain the family structure or are unable or unwilling to continue efforts to maintain the family structure; or
is a sexually exploited child.
A child, parent, or guardian, or the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) may file a CHINS petition if:
a serious conflict exists between the parent and child which cannot be resolved by delivery of services to the family during continued placement of the child in the parental home; and
reasonable efforts have been made to prevent the need for removal of the child from the parental home.
Upon filing a CHINS petition, the child may be placed by DCYF in a CRC, foster family home, group home facility, or any other suitable residence other than a HOPE Center.
Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Created by the Legislature in 2017, DCYF oversees several services previously offered through the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and Department of Early Learning (DEL), including all programs from the Children’s Administration in DSHS such as child protective services' investigations and family assessment response, and licensed foster care, and all DEL services. Beginning in July 2019, DCYF will administer programs offered by the Juvenile Rehabilitation division and the Office of Juvenile Justice in DSHS.
Summary of Bill: DCYF may place a child in need of services in a HOPE Center upon the filing of a CHINS petition. The limit on the number of HOPE Center beds statewide is removed.
HOPE Center licensing and staff requirements are modified to align with such requirements under DCYF. HOPE Centers must:
have a license issued by and which meets the qualifications for DCYF; and
have a case manager, preferably with experience working with adolescents, to serve as a placement and liaison specialist.
HOPE Centers may use an on-site program manager who must be trained in the development needs of street youth and must work with the case manager.
"Street youth services" is clarified as "street outreach services" and further defined as a program that provides services and resources either directly or through referral to street youth and unaccompanied young adults. Specific services may include crisis intervention emergency supplies, case management, and referrals; such services are provided through community-based outreach and drop-in centers.
At least two youth representatives must be added to the OHY Advisory Committee.
Legislative findings are updated to include language addressing those circumstances when segregating youth and young adult programs is not a best practice.
Technical corrections are made in relevant provisions to correctly refer to DCYF.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.
Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: This is a very simple bill that removes the limit on the number of beds that can be used for HOPE centers. It will open up more opportunities for youth to get off the street and have a roof over their heads. It makes modifications to our programs that essentially: makes it easier for youth and young adults to access services, by allowing outreach services to extend to young adults aged eighteen to twenty-four and by permitting youth with a child in need of services (CHINS) petition to stay in a HOPE bed; improves access to HOPE beds, allowing us to better leverage our existing resources; and amplifies youth engagement in our work by requiring that at least two members of OHY's advisory committee be youth representatives. Those youth that have gone through the system and experienced problems can reflect upon this to make a change and a difference. It is important to have those with lived experience on such boards and committees.
Allowing CHINS petition youth to be placed in HOPE Centers will potentially have them avoid being put in juvenile detention in order to stay safe and receive services. Street youth services provides a place where we can engage with youth from early on and ensure that they are moving to a safe place in the short term and long term.
All bill recommendations were provided directly by OHY service providers or from young people.
Persons Testifying: PRO: Senator Patty Kuderer, Prime Sponsor; Shoshana Wineburg, YouthCare; Johnathan Hemphill, Network Representative, The Mockingbird Society; Pam Crone, Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy; Kim Justice, Executive Director, Office of Homeless Youth; Jim Theofelis, A Way Home Washington.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.