Inslee signs foster care “bill of rights” legislation into law

Inslee signs foster care “bill of rights” legislation into law
May is for foster parents

Foster parents have a new official list of foster parent rights and responsibilities under legislation signed by the governor this week.

Rep. Tom Dent, representing the 13th district, introduced House Bill 2785 for the 2018 session after meeting with a foster parent group during the interim and later finding out many of their concerns and requests were already state law.

“The meeting was an eye-opener. We needed to be doing a much better job of informing our foster parents what their rights and responsibilities are in the foster care system,” said Dent, R-Moses Lake. “I was a foster parent for many years and some of the things we found already in law would have been helpful to me and many other foster parents.”

Under the new law, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families will be required to provide foster parents with a list of foster parent rights and responsibilities at orientation before licensure, when they receive their license, and at license renewal.

Dent said Washington state is approximately 1,000 foster parents short of where it needs to be.

“Our foster care system doesn’t have enough parents and the system has had some challenges. Anything we can do to support or encourage new prospects and those who are still foster parenting is extremely important,” said Dent. “The foster care ‘Bill of Rights’ will assist new foster parents and help those who are already foster parents become more knowledgeable about their rights and responsibilities.”

The bill goes into effect 90 days after the adjournment of the regular session. The Legislature adjourned on March 8.

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