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*
The substitute bill:
- Replaced the universal home visiting program for all newborns from birth to 9 months with demonstration sites for the implementation of short-term, universal, voluntary, community-based home visiting during an infant's first year;
- Removed the requirement that the universal home visiting program be a statewide entitlement by July 1, 2027;
- Now requires the DCYF to select up to four demonstration sites by October 1, 2019, based on communities with the highest needs as well as community interest and capacity and to implement services in the demonstration sites by January 1, 2021;
- Now requires the community to select an evidence-based or promising practice model and requires the model to be reflective of community goals, needs, and diversity;
- Directed the community-based HVP to:
- Be coordinated with a local resource and referral linkage system;
- Deliver services using a community-based organization with home visitors who reflect the diversity of the community;
- Be culturally responsive and appropriate to meet the family's needs;
- Offer visits in the family's home or another location at times convenient for working families;
- Offer up to three voluntary, health-focused visits during the infant's first year to all families in the community; and
- Focus the initial visit on the immediate health and safety needs of the child, mother, and family, and if appropriate, provide the family with information and referrals to local community-based resources and include a follow-up process for families;
- Now requires the community-based HVP to provide for a process to allow for adaptations necessary to meet the specific needs of local communities within the context of the chosen model, such as:
- Requiring home visits to be led or supervised by a health care professional licensed by the DOH; and
- Allowing for the option of pairing a licensed health care provider with a trusted community partner whenever culturally appropriate;
- Now requires the DCYF to offer technical assistance to assist communities in the demonstration sites with engagement, planning, and implementation activities as needed;
- Added provisions stipulating that all personally identifiable data collected under the program is confidential and limiting how data may be shared and with whom;
- Added requirements for the DCYF to report to the Legislature and the Governor by:
- November 1, 2020, a status update on planning and implementation activities in the demonstration sites;
- November 1, 2021, an interim evaluation report; an implementation plan and funding model for expanding statewide access to short-term universal voluntary home visiting programs and possible consideration of the development of a statewide family linkage program for resources and referrals; options for including short-term voluntary home visits as a covered benefit under Medicaid plans; and recommendations for the statewide coordination of short-term universal voluntary home visiting services;
- November 1, 2022, in collaboration with the OIC and the Exchange, options for including short-term voluntary home visits as a covered benefit under non-Medicaid health plans; and
- November 1, 2022, a final report on program outcomes;
- Modified language related to how funding is appropriated for community-based HVPs;
- Added definitions for "longer-term home visiting" and "promising practice" and revises definitions for the family linkage system and universal home visiting;
- Removed the requirement for the DCYF to conduct an independent evaluation to measure family and child outcomes;
- Removed the requirement for the DCYF to develop an implementation plan for universal home visiting;
- Removed the creation of a statewide family linkage program that provides resources and referrals to all Washington families;
- Modified the findings and intent language; and
Removed the emergency clause.