Status Summary

HB 2519 was passed by the Senate and sent back to the House for concurrence. The House concurred and the bill was passed and sent and eventually signed by the Governor.

Legislative Session

2014

Status

Passed

Sponsor

Representative Senn

HB 2519 requires a family assessment response (FAR) worker to assess for child safety and child well-being when collaborating with a family to determine the need for child protective services (CPS) child care or early learning services.

The bill also requires the Department of Social and Health Services to collaborate with the Department of Early Learning to complete two reports that examine child care and early learning services provided during FAR cases. Additionally, HB 2519 would qualify a child who received FAR services to be eligible for the working connections child care program for a twelve-month enrollment period, ensuring continuity in child care. 

HB 2519 states that the FAR child care program shall only subsidize child care or early learning programs that are enrolled in the Early Achievers program and rate at level 3, 4,or 5 unless one of the specified conditions exist. The bill requires child care and early learning service referrals provided by the FAR worker to prioritize licensed child care programs that meet certain criteria.  

The bill specifies that children whose parent or caregiver has completed FAR services are eligible for ECEAP and that priority for enrollment shall be given to children involved in the child welfare system (among other priority groups).

Substitute bill: As amended, HB 2519 does the following: (1) specifies that the FAR worker shall assess for child well-being and child safety when collaborating with a family to determine the need for child care, preschool, or home visiting services; (2) stipulates that beginning July 1, 2015, the FAR worker may only refer children to preschool programs that are enrolled in the early achievers program and rate at a certain level, unless certain conditions apply; (3) stipulates that beginning July 1, 2019, the FAR worker may only refer non-school-age children to child care programs that are enrolled in the early achievers program and rate at a certain level, unless certain conditions apply; (4) provides that if a child is attending a preschool or child care program prior to the FAR case the child may continue attending that program; (5) modifies the data collection requirement to include only a documenting requirement if the family elects to use child care or early learning services; (6) removes provisions that grant children receiving FAR services eligibility for the WCCC program; and (7) specifies that children involved in the child welfare system are eligible for ECEAP, as opposed to just children receiving FAR services.

As amended on the House floor: Removes the directive that requires a family assessment response (FAR) worker to meet with a family fifteen days prior to closing the family assessment response case to discuss childcare and early learning services.  Instead, the discussion is to happen prior to closing the case.

Removes the directive that requires a FAR worker to document if a family elects to use childcare or learning services. 

Early Learning and K-12 Amendment: As amended, the bill removes certain dates. It allows instead of requires a FAR worker to make childcare referrals for nonschool-age children to certain licensed childcare programs that rate at a level three, four, or five. The bill requires a FAR worker to, when appropriate, provide referrals to certain childcare programs, instead of making every effort.  It states that prior to closing the FAR case, the FAR worker must, when appropriate, discuss certain services, instead of requiring the FAR worker to discuss certain services. The word successful was removed from the FAR workers' obligation to facilitate service enrollment. A new section is added requiring DSHS and DEL to jointly develop recommendations on methods by which DSHS and DEL can achieve certain goals and requires that these recommendations be reported. The definition of eligible child for the purpose of ECEAP now includes children in the child welfare system, however, are only included as eligible within available appropriations, and as of the effective date of this section through fiscal year 2018.

As amended in Senate Ways and Means:

  • Removes certain dates.
  • Allows, instead of requires, a family assessment response worker to make child care referrals for nonschool-age children to certain licensed child care programs that rate at a level 3, 4, or 5.
  • Requires a family assessment response (FAR) worker to, when appropriate, provide referrals to certain child care programs, instead of making every effort.
  • States that prior to closing the family assessment response case, the FAR worker must, when appropriate, discuss certain services, instead of requiring the FAR worker to discuss certain services.
  • Removes the word successful from the FAR worker's obligation to facilitate service enrollment.
  • Adds a new section requiring DSHS and DEL to jointly develop recommendations on methods by which DSHS and DEL can achieve certain goals and requires that these recommendations be reported.
  • Removes children involved in the child welfare system from definition of eligible child as it relates to the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). Restores current law definition of eligible child and priority services.
  • Allows the department to include in the definition of eligible child, a child who is not otherwise receiving services under the ECEAP and who is either receiving child protective services (CPS) or FAR, subject to the availability of appropriations specifically for this purpose and gives the children receiving CPS or FAR services priority services under ECEAP until June 30, 2018.

House Floor Colloquy: Given the language regarding eligibility for ECEAP seemed limited, but there was not the ability to amend the bill, a colloquy was done on the House floor to attempt to address the ‘specifically appropriated for this purpose’ language in the bill.  The colloquy went as follows:

Speaker Moeller: “For what reason does the good lady from the 16th rise?”

Rep. Maureen Walsh: “Will the good gentleman from the 48th yield to a question?”

Rep. Ross Hunter: “I will. What is your question?”

Rep. Maureen Walsh: “In Section 614, Sub 1 of ESSB 6002 – the 2014 supplemental operating budget - is it the intent of the legislature that existing ECEAP funds can be considered as specifically appropriated to cover ECEAP eligibility for a child receiving child protective services or family assessment response as passed by ESHB 2519?”

Rep. Ross Hunter: “Yes. Existing EACAP funds can be considered specifically appropriated for use in providing ECEAP to children involved in child protective services or family assessment response as passed in ESHB 2519.”