Governor, foster care advocates make push for new children and family department

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Gov. Jay Inslee met with foster parents, youth and advocates Tuesday in Olympia to discuss his proposal to create a new Department of Children, Youth and Families and improve the state’s foster care system.

House Bill 1661, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi, restructures state services for children and families to create a system that is focused on helping families and children thrive by preventing harm rather than reacting to it. The plan follows the recommendations of the bipartisan blue ribbon commission convened by the governor last year.

“We want to do three things with this bill: be preventative rather than reactive; streamline services for children and families; and improve communication between agencies and the people they serve,” Inslee said.

The state House of Representatives has passed HB 1661 three times with strong bipartisan support.

Speaking Tuesday, Azia Ruff, a network representative of The Mockingbird Society and a dependent through the state’s extended foster care program, said that her experience in the foster care system has positively influenced her. However, Ruff’s situation was atypical when compared with her foster care peers, she said.

“I’ve noticed that the compassion, transparency and undivided attention that I’ve gotten in my experience and care is not standard for my peers and my colleagues,” she said. “I think that if we have a system of delivering care, it should be standard that this care is quality to all.”

For more photos, video and to read the rest of the story visit the governor’s Medium page.

Media Contacts

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office