Sponsored by Sen. Carrell, SB 5281 directs the WA State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to conduct an empirical study of the validity and reliability of the safety assessment tool used in child welfare cases by the DSHS Children’s Administration. The WSIPP must determine whether other empirically based child welfare safety assessment tools exist, and if so, compare them to the tool currently being used; and whether other factors or combination of factors not included in the current tool should be included to help predict real outcomes. As part of the study, the WSIPP is directed to consult with an advisory group made up of representatives of the research department at the administrative office of the courts, the research and data analysis division at DSHS, and a university-based child welfare research entity. A report is due to the legislature by Dec. 15, 2013.
Substitute bill: As amended, SB 5281 directs the WSIPP to identify, where possible, unnecessary duplication in the application of the family assessment tool and consult with Children’s Administration caseworkers.