Washington state legislative session stared yesterday, and we are delighted to share POC 2018 top priorities. 

In 2018 Partners for Our Children will focus on the following recommendations and strategies.  In addition, we will work with partners on issues that impact children and families, including, but not limited to housing, medical care, and behavioral health/chemical dependency.
 
Improve child welfare
 
• Implement successful models for parent child visitation, including forecasting visitation;
• Allow families to receive Family Assessment Response (FAR) services for up to 120 days;
• Support relative placements and legal services for kinship caregivers;
• Ensure housing is not a barrier to reunification;
• Fund adequately in- and out-of-home care services;
• Address eligibility issues related to Extended Foster Care;
• Improve educational outcomes for children and youth in the child welfare system; and 
• Expand successful programs for youth transitioning out of foster care
 
 
Successfully implement the new Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF)
Support policies and funding that ensure adequate start-up of the new Department; including the establishment of the Oversight Board, additional prevention/home visiting services, and the stabilization of Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS) and other aspects of the child welfare and early learning systems
 
Expand Performance Based Contracting
Establish a second Network Administrator to oversee contracts for Family Support and Related Services (per HB 2264, passed in 2012)
 
Increase access to mental health services for children
Continue the Children’s Mental Health Workgroup; establish a statewide community referral line in order to better link individuals/families with appropriate and available services; and increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for mental health providers who treat children
 
Address inter-generational poverty
Increase the asset limit for TANF eligibility; restore the TANF grant to the 2011 level; re-establish the child support pass-through; address barriers to education for teen parents (GRADS program); and support the work of the Intergenerational Poverty Workgroup in their efforts to explore additional strategies to reduce poverty
 
Enhance early learning opportunities
Increase the Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) rate; continue ECEAP expansion; restore cuts to Early Achievers; eliminate the work requirements for college students needing WCCC; and expand home visiting
 
Improve services for at-risk and/or juvenile justice involved youth
Support changes to the Child in Need of Services (CHINS) and At-Risk Youth processes by establishing a Family in Need of Services (FINS) approach; and increase funding for family reconciliation services
 
Below you will find a PDF of our legislative priorities and a helpful glossary of terms
Keep updated on all of Washington's legislative happenings here
View our "Bill Tracker" here

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