Legislative Update – Supporting Foster Kids and Children’s Rights

http://www.SiritaLaw.com

February 26, 2008

 

 

ACTION ITEMS:

 

This session is moving fast.  Upcoming bill cutoff dates:

 

·       Feb 29: Last day to read in committee reports from opposite house in policy committee

·       March 3: Last day to read opposite house committee reports in fiscal committee

·       March 7: Last day to consider opposite house bills

·       March 13: Last day of the session

 

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 3145 – “Tiered licensing for Foster Parents” – with “Stealth” Foster Care Unionization Amendment

Status: Passed split by party in the House.  Hearing in Senate Human Services Committee 8:00 AM Thursday, Feb. 28

 

ACTION NEEDED:

 

The Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee will hear testimony this Thursday, Feb. 28, at 8:00 AM, Cherberg Building Room 1, in Olympia.  HB 3145 is the latest attempt by FPAWS (Foster Parents Association of Washington State, member WFSE/AFL-CIO) to create a foster parent union.

 

Not all foster parents are in favor of this bill because:

 

I realize that many of you may support labor unions in the workplace.  However, I do not believe the employment model itself is the right one in a family setting.  The goal should not be to fight for rights and benefits for ourselves, but to fight to improve the lives of our children.

 

Please e-mail or call the Human Services and Corrections Committee Members and your Senators.  Ask them to vote "no" on HB 3145.

 

My editorial on this issue is in Tuesday's P-I, currently live on the web, and reproduced below: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/352627_foster26.html.  I will testify on Thursday in the Senate.

 

Human Services and Corrections Committee Members:

 

James Hargrove - Chair (D)

(360) 786-7646

hargrove.jim@leg.wa.gov

Debbie Regala - Vice Chair (D)

(360) 786-7652

regala.debbie@leg.wa.gov

Val Stevens - Ranking Minority Member (R)

(360) 786-7676

stevens.val@leg.wa.gov

Dale Brandland (R)

(360) 786-7682

brandland.dale@leg.wa.gov

Mike Carrell (R)

(360) 786-7654

carrell.michael@leg.wa.gov

Chris Marr (D)

(360) 786-7610

marr.chris@leg.wa.gov

Rosemary McAuliffe (D)

(360) 786-7600

mcauliffe.rosemary@leg.wa.gov

 

 

 

 

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

Status: Passed unanimous in the House.  Hearing in Senate Human Services Committee 8:00 AM Thursday, Feb. 28

 

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.  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: Passed unanimous in the House.  Waiting Executive Action in Senate Human Services Committee.

 

ACTION NEEDED:

 

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

 

 

 

 

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