Foster Care Justice Alliance

Defending the Rights of the Child

http://www.FosterJustice.com

 

Legislative Update

March 16, 2009

 

 

"… [the placement] decision must be made more expeditiously because growing up cannot be put on hold, and the impact of being without a permanent family is felt each day by a child."

Washington State Supreme Court Justice Bobbe J. Bridge (ret.)

View foster care through their eyes

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 30, 2006

 

UPDATE

 

Passed by the Senate, Referred to the House Early Learning & Children's Services Committee

Public Hearing in the House Early Learning & Children's Services Committee

Thursday, March 19, 8:00 AM, John L. O'Brien Building, Room E

·       SB 5431: Children returning to foster care return to the same foster family

·       SB 5510: Encouraging Early Engagement of All Parenting Resources (Senate version)

 

Passed by the Senate, Referred to the House Early Learning & Children's Services Committee

·       SB 5811: Concerning foster care placements (omnibus bill - see below)

 

Passed by the House, Referred to the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee

·       HB 1782: Encouraging Early Engagement of All Parenting Resources (House version)

 

DIED IN SENATE RULES:

·       SB 5803: Informing Adoptive Parents of the Limitations of Adoption Support

 

 

ACTION ITEM:  Thank your senator and both your representatives for supporting Foster Justice legislation.  Ask for their continued support as the bills now trade houses.

 

 

The good news is that SB 5431, SB 5510, HB 1782, and SB 5811 all made it to the floor in their respective chambers, and all passed unanimously.  Both the Senate and House versions of our Early Engagement proposal are still moving.  The bills now trade houses, and the clock keeps ticking to get through committees and to the floor of the opposite chamber for a vote.

 

SB 5803, the bill to give prospective adoptive families information about the limits of adoption support, unfortunately did not get to the Senate Floor, so it is now dead.  However, no idea is truly dead if it can be amended onto another bill, and that's what we're working on now.

 

SB 5431 and 5510 are already scheduled for hearings in the House this week.  We expect SB 5811 and HB 1782 to be scheduled for hearings very soon.  If you can make it to Olympia to testify on these bills, please do.

 

If you have ever felt under attack by the system, please be ready to testify for SB 5811.  So many people tell me horrible stories.  The only way to make a change is for the good people that have been hurt to come forward and testify.  Nothing happens without you.  If you are afraid, you can testify using your first name only.  If you simply cannot make the trip, send written testimony via e-mail.  Please CC: me if you submit written testimony, that way I can mention your name during the hearing and request that your testimony be read into the record.

 

For everyone, please pick up your telephone or send an e-mail in support of our legislation.  It does make a difference.  Even in the case of 5803, which did not make it to the floor, the flurry of phone calls and e-mails did make an impact.  We now have legislators committed to amending it onto one of our other bills.

 

Keep it up.

 

Gary

 

 

 

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

FCJA 24-hour Message Line: 1-484-288-4364

Foster Care Justice Alliance, P.O. Box 233, Woodinville, WA 98072-0233

 

http://www.FosterJustice.com

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SB 5510/ HB 1782 Regarding notification in dependency matters

Proposed by FCJA: "Encouraging Early Engagement of All Parenting Resources"

Supported by the Child Welfare Advocacy Coalition

 

SB 5510 Status: Passed unanimous in the Senate

Hearing in the House Early Learning & Children's Services, March 19, 8 AM, JLOB E

 

HB 1782 Status: Passed unanimous in the House

Referred to the Senate Human Service & Corrections Committee - needs a hearing

 

 

 

Watch the House Floor debate on TVW.org.  Debate on HB 1782 starts about 00:09:20: http://www.tvw.org/media/mediaplayer.cfm?evid=2009030081A&TYPE=V&CFID=3505776&CFTOKEN=af08fcb8d738acf8-8A592653-3048-349E-4E4E3C50D0234052&bhcp=1

 

Download our position paper here: http://www.fosterjustice.com/leg/Encouraging%20Early%20Engagement%20of%20All%20Parenting%20Resources.doc

 

ACTION ITEMS:

(360) 786-7910, kagi.ruth@leg.wa.gov

 (360) 786-7646, hargrove.jim@leg.wa.gov

 

 

 

SB 5803 Making Changes to the Adoption Support Program

Proposed by the Washington Adoptive Families Alliance (WAFA)

 

This bill requires full disclosure of the limits of the Adoption Support Program at least 6 full months before the adoption of a child.  Many adoptive families have been told that the Adoption Support Program would provide necessary services for their child prior to the adoption being finalized.  When their child needed services, they discovered that the Adoption Support Program did not provide the services they had been promised.

 

This bill died in Senate Rules.  It did not get to the Senate floor in time for a vote.  However, we are now looking to amend the language from 5803 onto another bill.

 

ACTION ITEM: No action item at this time.

 

 

 

SB 5811 Concerning foster care placements

Status: Passed unanimous in the Senate

Referred to the House Early Learning & Children's Services Committee - needs a hearing

 

5811 is an omnibus bill with many sections, including a section proposed by FCJA strengthening the OFCO.  Here are the other parts:

 

 

Currently, if someone complains of retaliation, the Ombudsman is required to put it in their annual report.  This bill puts more teeth into what they can do.

 

ACTION ITEM: Ask Rep. Ruth Kagi, Chair of House ELC, to please schedule 5811 for a hearing.  (360) 786-7910, kagi.ruth@leg.wa.gov

 

 

 

SB 5431 Regarding placement of a child returning to out-of-home care

Proposed by FCJA, Continuity of Care and the Importance of Psychological Relationships

 

Status: Passed unanimous in the Senate

Hearing in the House Early Learning & Children's Services, March 19, 8 AM, JLOB E

 

If a child returns home, and then returns to foster care, this bill requires the department to place the child with the same foster family, if the family is willing and available, and in the best interest of the child.

 

ACTION ITEM: Thank Rep. Ruth Kagi, Chair of House ELC, for hearing 5431. Please PASS!

(360) 786-7910, kagi.ruth@leg.wa.gov

 

 

 

SB 5988 Visitation by caregivers in dependency matters

Proposed by FCJA, Continuity of Care and the Importance of Psychological Relationships

 

This bill is an implementation of Recommendation #6 from our foster care policy think tank report.  It would allow a caregiver to petition the court for visitation of a child in dependency.

 

This bill will be heard in the Senate late in the session, possibly as a work session.  This means it is dead for this year, but we will have a chance to start the conversation.  Continue to contact your legislators in support of Continuity of Care, and tell your stories.

 

ACTION ITEM: No action item at this time.

 

 

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

 

FCJA Facebook Page: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/202325

http://www.FosterJustice.com

http://www.SiritaLaw.com