Working to transform the child welfare system.

Week 16




It was a nail biter but the legislature adjourned ON TIME on April 28th just before midnight. The last couple of days are probably a blur for most legislators and others who were there, as they were working pretty much around the clock until they finished.  And, from my perspective, things finished quite well!


What are some of the highlights?*  


With respect to the budget, the legislature included the following (these figures do not necessarily reflect the total amount going into that service, just what was added this session).  Please note that the list is truly just some of the highlights:

  • $500,000 for supported visitation;

  • $1.652m for Family Reconciliation Services:

  • $532,000 for the Parents for Parents program;

  • $4.0m for the Anchor Community Initiative (addresses homeless youth and young adults);

  • $500,000 for the Kinship Care Support Program;

  • $468,000 for the Tribal Kinship Navigator Program;

  • $7.558m for Home Visiting;

  • $35.186m for Behavioral Rehabilitation Services;

  • $1.704m for child welfare caseworkers;

  • $2.942m for start up for two, 16 bed programs for pregnant and parenting women;

  • $200,000 for a substance use disorder program specialist at DCYF;

  • $4.5m for services for homeless youth (in addition to the $ for the Anchor Communities);

  • $3.080m for suicide prevention;

  • $583,000 for the suicide prevention task force;

  • $1.0m for a school based tele-health program;

  • $220,000 for operations at Forefront Suicide Prevention;

  • $24.964m for a rate increase for child care centers;

  • $19.602m for ECEAP expansion;

  • $15.167 for an ECEAP rate increase:

  • $6.1m for Early Achievers;

  • $224,000 for Team Child;

  • $1.2m to implement a prevention pilot in Pierce Co.; and

  • $500,000 for Play and Learn groups.

Additionally, a number of bills passed that had a fiscal impact and were also funded in the budget, including:

HB1874 – Adolescent behavioral health;

HB1603 – TANF policy changes;

HB1216 – Student safety and well-being (includes the expansion of the ESD behavioral health pilot to all ESDs);

HB1303 – Child care for students;

SB5651 – Legal services for kinship caregivers;

SB5718 – Child welfare housing assistance;

SB5903 – Children’s mental health; and

SB5055 – DCYF changes and child welfare supports.


Another bill to highlight that did not have a fiscal impact (at this point!) but is a major policy change, is SB5290, the bill that over the next four years will end the practice of putting status offenders in juvenile detention.  


As you can see, even from this very incomplete list of bills and budget items, that the legislature did a lot in the realm of children, youth, and families.  They worked extremely hard and deserve considerable thanks. And speaking of thanks, I want to again thank the team at Partners for Our Children for getting this update and bill tracker out every week!  Thank you! 


 I also want to thank all of YOU for keeping up to speed on what was going on, your interest in these issues, your involvement in the legislative process, and most of all, your commitment to children, youth and families in Washington state.  


We will post our final budget comparison document over the next week or so and in the meantime, if you have questions, contact Nicole Sadow-Hasenberg, Communications Manager, Partners for Our Children. 


Thanks again!  Until next session…….