OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A state commission told lawmakers Tuesday a new agency would help solve some of the state’s problems involving foster children.
The co-chairs of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on the Delivery of Services to Children and Families made their recommendation to state senators in Olympia.
Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle), said creating a Department of Children, Youth and Families would be a better way to hold the state accountable when it comes to handling foster children.
The department would consolidate existing resources and employees from the state’s Department of Social and Health Services but would require additional funding. The amount has not been determined.
The commission found 42% of foster children graduate from high school on-time compared to 78% of the rest of students.
Senators also learned children who are victims of child abuse or neglect are more than four-times more likely than other children to abuse illegal substances later in life.
Sen. Joe Fain (R-Auburn), Chair of the Senate’s Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, considers creating the new agency “realistic,” as long as the potential benefits would be made clear to lawmakers.
A spokesperson for Governor Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), said the recommendation will “help inform Inslee’s 2017 policy and budget development in the coming weeks.”