Working to transform the child welfare system.


HB 1988: Implementing a vulnerable youth guardianship program

Misalignment between state and federal law continues to exist. Federal law allows a person under twenty-one years old, who otherwise meets the requirements for eligibility under 8 U.S.C. Sec. 31 1101(a)(27)(J) to file for relief [this determination offers interim relief from deportation to undocumented, unmarried immigrant youth under 21 years old, if a state court with jurisdiction over juveniles has made specific findings]. In Washington, however, vulnerable youth who are between eighteen and twenty-one years old have largely been unable to obtain the findings from the superior court necessary to seek this classification and the relief that it was intended to afford them, solely because superior courts cannot take jurisdiction of these vulnerable youth under current law. This is true despite the fact that many vulnerable youth between eighteen and twenty-one years old face circumstances identical to those faced by their younger counterparts. Given the recent influx of vulnerable youth arriving to the United States, many of whom have been released to family members and other adults in Washington, and who have experienced parental abuse, neglect, or abandonment, it is necessary to provide an avenue for these vulnerable youth to petition the superior courts to appoint a guardian of the person, even if the youth is over eighteen years old. This bill authorizes a court to appoint a guardian for a vulnerable youth from eighteen to twenty-one years old, who is not participating in extended foster care services authorized under RCW 19 74.13.031, and who is eligible for classification under 8 U.S.C. Sec. 20 1101(a)(27)(J).