Status Summary

First reading, referred to Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation on 2.5.19. Executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation on 2.7.19; passed and referred to Ways & Means. Referred to Ways & Means on 2.8.19. Public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 2.18.19 at 3:30 p.m. (updated 2.15.19)

Legislative Session

2019

Status

In Progress

Sponsor

Darneille

SB 5826 intends to implement the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) by expanding services to children and their families. This act does so by amending, reenacting, and adding new sections to various RCWs.

First, RCW 13.34.025 is amended to define remedial services as those that facilitate the reunification of the child safely and appropriately within a timely fashion.

RCW 13.34.030 is amended to define “prevention and family services and programs” as specific mental health prevention and treatment services, substance abuse prevention and treatment services, and in-home parent skill-based programs that qualify for federal funding under FFPSA.

“Qualified residential treatment program” is defined as a program licensed as a group facility that also qualifies for federal funding under the FFPSA and meets the following requirements:

  • uses a trauma-informed treatment model  designed to address the needs, including clinical needs, as appropriate, for children with serious emotional or behavioral disorders or disturbances; and
  • is able to implement treatment for the child that is identified in an assessment.

The definition for relatives are also expanded to include other caregivers and family members. This section also establishes that certain services and programs are not remedial services or family reunification services pursuant to RCW 13.34.025 (2). Prevention services include, but are not limited to, prevention and family services and programs defined in this section.

Amends RCW 13.34 that establishes a social study as a written evaluation of the disposition of a case that must contain:

  • a statement of specific harm or harms to the child that requires interventions to alleviate;
  • description of the specific services and activities needed to prevent serious harm to the child;
  • a full description of reasons why the child cannot be protected in their home if removal is recommended;
  • a copy of this assessment must be included if the child is placed for at least 30 days in a qualified residential treatment program;
    • as long as the child remains placed for at least 60 days, the social study must also contain information regarding:
      • whether ongoing assessment of the child’s strengths and needs continue to support the determination of the placement;
      • whether the placement provides the most effective level of care;
      • whether the placement is consistent with the child’s permanency plan;
      • what specific treatment/service needs will be met; and
      • what efforts DCYF has made to prepare the child to return home or be placed with a fit and willing relative.
  • a statement of the likely harm a child will suffer as a result of removal;
  • a description of the steps that will be taken to minimize the harm to the child if separation occurs; and
  • behavior that will be expected before determination that supervision of the family or placement is no longer necessary.

The act provides further clarifications regarding foster children by amending RCW 26.44.020 to include definitions for a “child who is a candidate for foster care,” as a child who DCYF identifies as being at imminent risk of entering foster care and reasonable cause to believe that:

  • the child has been abandoned by the parent;
  • no parent is capable of meeting the child's needs; or
  • the child is otherwise at imminent risk of harm.

Section 6 amends RCW 26.44.030 such that DCYF may provide prevention and family services and programs to the child’s parents, guardian, or caregiver.   The department also may use a Family Assessment Response (FAR) to assess & provide prevention and family services and programs for:

  • a child who is a candidate for foster care; and
  • a child who is in foster care and who is pregnant, parenting, or both.

Furthermore, for cases in which DCYF elects to use a FAR, the FAR response period may be extended up to one year.

Section 8 re-enacts and amends RCW 74.13.01 such that DCYF has the authority to provide independent living services to youths between 18-23 years of age, thus extending the eligible age from 21 to 23.

Section 9 amends RCW 74.14C.020 such that DCYF may authorize an additional provision of service through an exception to support and retain foster families so they can provide quality family-based settings for children in foster care. Additionally, DCYF may offer or provide family preservation services as remedial services, or may consider them not to be remedial services and extend the duration of the services for up to 15 months following reunification. All with the goal of facilitating safe and timely reunification and ensuring the strength and stability of the reunification.

The bill also amends RCW to modify the definition of “group care facility” to include:

  • qualified residential treatment programs;
  • facilities specializing in providing prenatal, post-partum, or parenting supports for youth; and
  • facilities providing high-quality residential care and supportive services to children who are, or are at risk of becoming, victims of sex trafficking.

Sections three, four, 10-15 take effect on October 1st, 2019.

*Companion to HB 1900*