Governor signs Dent legislation to increase presence on DCYF Oversight Board

A bill that will increase the presence of eastern Washington on the state Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) Oversight Board was signed by the governor on Tuesday.

House Bill 1561, prime-sponsored by 13th District Rep. Tom Dent, will make changes to the board overseeing the new DCYF state agency that was created in 2017. The Oversight Board was also created in 2017 with the new agency.

“We need to have balanced representation on the Oversight Board and make sure that eastern Washington is adequately represented as the board does its due diligence to ensure the department is focusing on the well-being of our children,” said Dent, R-Moses Lake. “It is also critical that we have board members who have experience with our foster youth and juvenile justice systems.”

The bill will ensure at least five of the board members reside east of the Cascade Mountain range. It will also add one current or former foster youth under the age of 25, one individual under the age of 25 with current or previous experience with the juvenile justice system, and one physician with experience working with children or youth.

In 2018, the DCYF assumed responsibility over child welfare and early learning functions previously held by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the Department of Early Learning. On July 1, 2019, the DCYF will assume responsibility over juvenile justice programs currently administered by the DSHS.

The Oversight Board receives quarterly updates regarding the implementation of the DCYF. The board must also convene at least two stakeholder meetings a year regarding contracting with the DCYF and review surveys of providers, customers, parent groups, and external services to assess whether the DCYF is effectively delivering services.

The bill passed the Legislature unanimously. The new law takes effect at the end of July.

Gov. Inslee signs Rep. Dent's House Bill 1561.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov