A 1995 Washington State law, called the Becca Bill, requires children from age eight to 17 to attend a public school, private school, or district-approved home school program. Children who are six or seven years old are not required to be enrolled in school, but if they are enrolled, they must attend full-time. Youths who are 16 or older may be excused from attending public school if they meet certain requirements. Schools must file a truancy petition with juvenile court when a child has more than five unexcused absences in a month or ten in a school year.
Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS)
The 2012 Washington Children's Administration's BRS Handbook (link below) states that BRS is a temporary, intensive, wraparound out-of-home support and treatment program for youth with extreme, high level, service needs. Children's Administration contracts with community agencies for care and treatment for children and youth with serious emotional, behavioral or medical difficulties who cannot be adequately served in regular family foster homes. BRS is used to safely stabilize youth and assist in achieving a permanent plan or a less intensive service. The desired outcomes for Behavioral Rehabilitation Services are to increase the child’s: behavioral stability; school stability; placement stability; and potential to reach permanency. A wide array of services can be provided under a BRS contract, ranging from Short-Term/Emergent Care to longer term On-going Services. On-going services are expected to last only as long as needed with a goal for the child to transition on or before 12 months. These services can be provided in an array of settings including the child’s legal guardian or permanent resource home, a treatment foster home, or facility.
The biological parents, as opposed to adoptive parents, caregivers, or guardians, are the person(s) who gave birth to, or fathered the child; also called birth parents, natural parents, or genetic parents.
Braam Settlement Agreement
The Braam vs. State of Washington State lawsuit was filed in 1998 on behalf of a class of foster children who had three or more placements while in foster care. The lawsuit alleged that the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) did not provide constitutionally required care to foster children. In 2004, a settlement agreement was reached and an independent five member panel of experts (the Braam Oversight Panel), in collaboration with DSHS/CA and with substantial input from the plaintiffs' attorney, was formed. In 2011, the DSHS/CA and the plaintiffs' attorneys agreed to continue to monitor the Children’s Administration’s performance on 21 outcomes, which include monthly visits, sibling placement, sibling visits, annual mental health and substance abuse screens, and others. CA issues data twice yearly on its performance in the 21 Outcomes in the Revised Settlement and Exit Agreement and the Braam Oversight Panel then determines if the Department is in full compliance.