Working to transform the child welfare system.


SB 5405: Relating to extended foster care services

Sponsored by Senator Murray, SB5405 is the companion to HB 1302.

Substitute bill:  As amended, SB 5405 states that the dependency is not automatically dismissed when the youth turns 18 years of age.  Instead, the youth may continue in extended foster care under a voluntary placement agreement, which will ensure that the state continues to receive federal reimbursement for extended foster care services.  The age at which a youth can elect to participate in extended foster care services is lowered from 21 to 19.

Ways and Means amendment:  The Senate Ways and Means amendments  makes the extension of extended foster care services to new categories subject to appropriation. Further, it reduces the age limit for a youth to choose to enter extended foster care services from 19 years old to 18-1/2, and allows for youth to switch between eligibility categories.

As amended by the Senate:  Technical corrections were made vis a vis a striking amendment on the Senate floor.

As amended by the ELHS Committee:   SB 5405 requires the court to keep dependency cases open for 6 months beyond the 18th birthday of youth: (1) who turn 18 years old while they are in foster care or (2) turn 18 while serving a commitment at the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) and have a release date within 6 months after reaching age 18; this requires the court to hold dependency cases open for a six-month grace period when a youth turns 18 without requiring the youth at that time to be engaged in one of the qualifying activities for extended foster care services.

Requires the court to dismiss a dependency case of a youth who has turned 18 and 6 months where the youth as not been released from JRA, in addition to other listed criteria for dismissal of dependency cases once a youth turns 18 1/2.

Restores current statutory language that allows a youth to continue to receive extended foster care services during the transition from a secondary program to a postsecondary program if the youth has applied and demonstrated that he or she intends to timely enroll in the postsecondary program.

Modifies  definitions of “nonminor dependent” and “supervised independent living”. Includes language limiting liability of DSHS.

Requires the Department of Social and Health Services to provide foster youth who are between the ages of 17 years and 17 years and 6 months with written documentation regarding access to extended foster care services and removes the provision that makes such requirement subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose.

House Floor Amendment:  Will include in subsequent update.