Legislature creates Department of Children, Youth, and Families

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Reps. Ruth Kagi and Tom Dent
and Senator Steven O'Ban were prime sponsors
Photo courtesy Washington Legislative Svcs
During the recently completed legislative session, HB 1661, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi, passed, creating the Department of Children, Youth and Families.

The bill restructures existing early learning, child welfare and juvenile justice agencies into a new Department that emphasizes prevention, reports directly to the Governor and is accountable for improving outcomes for children.

In particular, it will improve the foster care system in Washington State.

Rep. Kagi has been working on this project for a long time and her response was jubilant.

“The Department of Early Learning was created a decade ago and has greatly improved the quality of early learning programs across the state” said Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle), prime sponsor of HB 1661 and chair of the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee. 
“This bill builds on that success to assure the most vulnerable children, youth and families receive effective prevention and intervention services.”

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families will have an office of accountability and innovation to help drive reform and ensure that investments are used efficiently and effectively. Relying on data-driven and research-based practices will link kids with the right services at the right time to promote healthy development.

“The current system is failing too many children and young people involved in foster care,” continued Rep. Kagi. 
“This new department will implement changes to value and respect parents and foster parents, increase stability and permanency for children, intervene early to help families stay together and make sure that young people are supported as they transition into adulthood.”

Rep. Kagi represents the 32nd legislative district which includes all of Shoreline and Woodway, northwest Seattle and portions of Edmonds.


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