The life of a foster child is anything but normal – s/he is taken from his or her home and placed in a new home with new rules, a new room and sometimes a new school. In order to provide a shred of normalcy to a foster child’s life, it’s important to allow him or her to take part in normal childhood activities – weekend camping trips, school field trips, sleepovers and more. However, the current system requires foster parents to get caseworker or additional departmental permission for many of these types of activities, which can sometimes lead to a lengthy approval process.
Can you imagine the look on a child’s face when you have to tell him that he can’t join your family weekend camping trip?
Fortunately, HB 2699, sponsored by Representative Kagi, and SB 6479, sponsored by Senator Frockt, give caregivers and foster parents authority to allow children placed in their care to participate in normal childhood activities based on areasonable and prudent parent standard. These bills are designed specifically to address the barriers that often cause frustration and disappointment for foster children. The prudent parent standard allows foster parents increased flexibility and discretion in making decisions around extracurricular, enrichment and social activities, which allow for more normalcies in a foster child’s life.
We are thrilled that SB 6479 is continuing to move forward this legislative session. It represents a step in the right direction for the overall well-being of foster children in Washington State. For more details on this bill or to follow its progress through the end of session, visit our online Bill Tracker!