Legislative Update – Supporting Foster Kids and Children’s Rights

http://www.SiritaLaw.com

February 16, 2008

 

ACTION ITEMS:

 

 

This session is moving fast.  Upcoming bill cutoff dates:  

 

There is no time to waste.  Call or e-mail your representatives now to support foster kids.

 

 

Don’t know who your representatives are? Click here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

All e-mail addresses: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail

 

Toll Free Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000

Even if you don’t know your district, the operators will find it for you.

When they ask to which representative, say “All of them!”

 

 

 

 

HB 3205 Promoting the long-term well-being of children

Status: Passed unanimous out of the House!  Now moves to the Senate.

 

ACTION NEEDED:

 

This bill requires the department to file a termination of parental rights petition if a child has been in out-of-home care for 15 of the last 22 months.  The Attorney General’s office has filed a $1.5 million fiscal note to this bill, which is interesting – this means the AG is saying this bill will cost them more money to follow what has already been federal law for nine years under the Adoption Safe Families Act (ASFA) ’97. 

 

UPDATE:   HB 3205 was amended by a House floor amendment with the contents of HB 2846: Establishing a process for entering voluntary out-of-home placement agreements for adoptive children in crisis, and HB 3187: Establishing systems to support families who have adopted children from foster care.  Some children adopted out of foster care have issues that do not surface for years, particularly in adolescence, and the treatment costs bankrupt the adoptive family.  I support this amendment.

 

I think HB 3205 should also be amended with the language from SHB 2075 that makes it clear that willful no-contact is also grounds for TPR, but that didn’t happen in the House.  Talk to your senators and representatives about how this affects your foster children.

 

 

 

HB 2822 – Concerning the family and juvenile court improvement program.

Status: On the House Floor awaiting a vote

 

ACTION NEEDED: This is on the calendar today.

 

HB 2822 encourages reform of the family courts by creating a fund that is available to courts that:

 

 

 

SB 5909/HB 2088 - Supporting the needs of children who have been in foster care.

Status: On the Senate Floor awaiting a vote

 

HB 2088 did not get a hearing in Appropriations before the cut off, so it is dead.  The companion bill SB 5909 is still alive and on the Senate floor for a vote, but the budget forecast came out yesterday predicting a $425 million drop in revenue due to the recession, so the part of this bill that creates Individual Development Accounts for foster children has been dropped, and it’s not likely to be added back in by the House.

 

This is disappointing, but if we have to choose between spending millions to create IDAs or protecting the $1.5 million needed by the AG to clear the backlog of cases that need termination petitions, it’s not a hard choice to make.

 

I generally support the remainder of the bill, but have no action items for now.

 

 

Toll Free Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000

Find out who are your legislators: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

E-mail addresses for all lawmakers: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail