The legislature acknowledges that a recent home visiting needs assessment revealed that thousands of families continue to be in need of services. Furthermore, cultural responsiveness in service delivery and community representation leads to more meaningful engagement with service providers and to a greater overall community well-being.
This bill establishes the Welcome to Washington Baby Act of 2019 in order to create family supports through universal home visiting programs and a statewide family linkage program for resources and referrals. This entails welcoming each family of a newborn with basic health, wellness, and stability services, as well as information on important community resources.
This universal home visiting program would be available to all newborns, from birth to 9 months old, and their families. The program would be implemented with a phased-in approach, starting with at least 2 communities with the highest need.
Further requirements include:
- An evidence-based or promising practice early childhood home visiting service delivery model to be adopted;
- An attempt to meet the language needs of families enrolled;
- The home visitor must be a licensed registered nurse;
- DCYF shall offer up to 3 home visits under the program, with the first occurring within 30 days after birth, at which point the family will be provided with a tracking document for the progress, health, and education benchmarks of the newborn;
- DCYF shall ensure the family is contacted to confirm whether the family received recommended services within 30-45 days of completion of home visits; and
- Requiring working in collaboration with the Dept of Health, Dept of Social and Health Services, and the Health Care Authority.
This act also requires for DCYF to conduct an independent evaluation to measure family and child outcomes for the 2 pilot communities, as well as to examine overall community health, and submit the report by November 1st, 2026.
Additionally, DCYF shall develop an implementation plan by October 1st, 2020, which must include:
- Description of the evidence-based early childhood home visiting services delivery model selected by the department, along with the first communities selected;
- Description of DCYF’s regional phased-in approach, with a timeline for implementation;
- A recruitment and outreach strategy;
- A workforce plan; and
- A plan to promote the universal home visiting program.
RCW 43.216.130 is also amended to include for the universal home visiting program to be funded with a budget proviso, and to include definitions for “statewide family linkage program” and “universal home visiting.”
Finally, this act requires DCYF to develop a statewide family linkage program that provides resources and referrals to all families residing in WA, and must be operational by July 1st, 2027.
*Companion to SB 5683*