Governor signs Dent legislation requiring state to look at traumatic brain injury screenings of new foster care children

On Wednesday, Gov. Inslee signed legislation requiring the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) to evaluate traumatic brain injury (TBI) screening tools for children going into the state’s foster care system.

House Bill 1605, sponsored by 13th District Rep. Tom Dent, will require DCYF to evaluate TBI screening tools to be included with other existing screens for children in out-of-home care. It will allow for treatment actions following identification of a TBI. The department will report back to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2019.

“I have experience as a foster parent. Sometimes when kids come into a home, they are out of an abusive relationship, they have a hard time focusing on their school work or following simple rules,” said Dent, R-Moses Lake. “As we study concussions, we are finding out it isn’t always a behavioral issue. Many of these kids unfortunately have suffered a traumatic brain injury.”

For children under the age of fifteen, 22 percent of TBI-related emergency visits, hospitalizations, and deaths were caused by being struck by or against an object.

“It is important for these youth to have a TBI screening so steps can be taken to address the injury earlier,” said Dent. “I am hopeful the report will allow to move forward with the screening process. This should not add any extensive costs or time onto the current screening process. The TBI screening could be added on to a screening that already occurs for foster youth. It is just a series of questions and other basic screening tools that are also currently used in youth sports.”

The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously. The measure will take effect in late July.

PHOTO: The governor signs Rep. Tom Dent’s House Bill 1605.


Washington State House Republican Communications