This act would require the Department of Children, Youth, and Families to establish the Child Welfare Housing Assistance Program, beginning on July 1st, 2020. This program shall provide families: • housing vouchers; • rental assistance; • housing navigation; and • other support services. The Child Welfare Housing Assistance Program (CWHAP) intends to shorten the time that children remain in out-of-home care and provide support to allow families to remain intact. Moreover, the funding provided may generally extend up to 2 years, and could extend beyond this timeframe for individuals who still do not have permanent housing or continue to need housing support. This act also specifies the individuals who are eligible for the program, including: • A parent with a child who is dependent pursuant to RCW chapter 13.34 and whose primary remaining barrier to reunification is the lack of appropriate housing. This group shall be given priority; and • A parent with a child who is not dependent under RCW chapter 13.34, but the child is at risk of removal by DCYF due to lack of appropriate housing. DCYF shall contract with an outside entity or entities to operate the program, however, if no entity/ies are available, DCYF may operate the program. The Child Welfare Housing Assistance Program is subject to the availability of funds appropriated for this purpose. Additionally, families may be referred to the program by: • A caseworker; • An attorney; • A guardian ad litem; • A child welfare parent mentor; • An Office of Public Defense social work; or • The court. This act also establishes the requirement to convene a stakeholder group to assist DCYF in the design of the Child Welfare Housing Assistance Program, which includes: • Parent allies; • Parent attorneys & social workers managed by OPD; • Housing experts; and • Community-based organizations, among others. RCW 13.34.065 is amended to direct the court to inquire as to whether housing assistance, including referral to the Child Welfare Housing Assistance Program was provided to a family alleging homelessness or lack of suitable housing. RCW 43.126.015 is also amended and reenacted to include requirements for DCYF to annually report outcomes for the Child Welfare Housing Assistance Program to the oversight board for Children, Youth, and Families. Amendments: Updated 2/26/19: • The purpose of the program is to shorten the time children remain in out-of-home care. • A parent with a child who is dependent whose primary remaining barrier to reunification is the lack of appropriate housing is eligible for CWHAP.
As amended in the House Human Services and Early Learning Committee: Limits the child welfare housing assistance pilot to one county in Eastern WA and one county in Western WA.
Updated on 4.12.19:
- The purpose of the program is to shorten the time children remain in out-of-home care.
- A parent with a child who is dependent whose primary remaining barrier to reunification is the lack of appropriate housing is eligible for CWHAP.
- CHWAP is changed to a pilot that expires on June 30, 2022.
- DCYF is required to consult with a stakeholder group to design the program and the stakeholder group does not have an ongoing role after the pilot is implemented.
- Strikes language that families may receive services for up to two years, and that the courts in shelter care and dependency hearings are required to inquire whether there has been a referral to the CWHAP.
- DCYF is required to report outcomes for the program to the DCYF Oversight Board by December 1, 2021, and the report must include information regarding the racial, geographic, ethnic, and gender distribution of program support.
House (Updated on 4.12.19):
The amended bill:
- Limits the child welfare housing assistance pilot program to one county in Eastern Washington and one county in Western Washington.
Adds a null and void clause. The bill is null and void unless funded in the budget.