Working to transform the child welfare system.

HB 2798: Relating to the baby court initiative

HB 2798 defines “baby court” as an intensive court process for families with a child under age 6 who has been found dependent. 

In order to create an initiative to support early interventions with substance abusing parents through county treatment courts, the bill establishes a process for parents with a documented need for substance abuse disorder treatment to voluntarily participate in baby court.  The bill lays out other requirements that must be met by baby courts, such as, reviewing at least every 30 days whether the parent(s) are actively engaged and adequately progressing toward achieving the case plan; provide access to the appropriate substance use disorder treatment; and promote effective interaction and the use of resources among the court and public and private child and family services providers.

2798 also directs the family and juvenile court improvement grant program to develop standards for baby court, develop a process where any superior court, and not just those receiving grant funds under current statute, may apply for grant funds to establish a baby court, and support baby courts in 5 superior courts that serve both rural and urban populations.

Outcome measure data will be submitted to fiscal committees of the legislature beginning December 1, 2020.