Gov. Jay Inslee tonight announced several new proclamations and a directive aimed at opening up the healthcare and childcare workforce, reducing transmission between families and children in DCYF custody, and lengthening the deadline for local governments to file their annual fiscal reports.
“We must continue to adapt to the new challenges we face every day during this COVID-19 outbreak,” Inslee said. “We need to allow the rapid expansion of the health and childcare sectors and help communities and families adapt to the changing realities of everyday life in this pandemic to further prevent the spread of the virus.”
Visitation and Remedial Services
This proclamation waives requirements for in-person visitation by children in the custody of the state Department of Children, Youth, and Family (DCYF) with family and DCYF caseworkers. It also waives requirements for DCYF to provide parents and children in child dependency cases with remedial services, which include things like coordinating family visits. The order will help prevent COVID-19 transmission between the foster parents, relatives, group homes, and others caring for children in DCYF’s custody.
Nothing in this order, or in the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, is intended to prevent compliance with a private parenting plan.
The governor encourages parents who are co-parenting under a parenting plan to communicate with one another during this difficult time in order to both maintain family relationships and to protect the best interests and health of each child.
This proclamation is accompanied by a directive, instructing DCYF to immediately issue emergency rules to bolster video visitation services for children in DCYF’s custody, so that they may interact with family remotely by April 1.
Waiving licensing requirements for healthcare workers
This proclamation waives requirements necessary for health care workers to remain licensed to practice in the state, including ongoing training and continuing education requirements. These waivers will deliver much needed relief to an increasingly taxed health care system, allowing workers to focus on providing care to Washingtonians during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Waiving requirements for child care and background checks
This proclamation waives several requirements for licensed childcare workers, including requiring federal fingerprint background checks before completing the licensing process. This responds to an increased need for childcare during the COVID-19 emergency, increasing availability by allowing workers to be more easily licensed to provide care to those who need it.
Waiving financial reports filing deadlines
This proclamation waives deadlines for local governments to file their required annual financial reports with the State Auditor’s Office, effective for thirty days. Specifically, this order waives a part of the law that requires local governments to file these financial reports no later than 150 days after the end of the fiscal year.