House approves Dent bill to require traumatic brain injury screenings of new foster care children

The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would make sure all kids going into the state's foster care system get checked for traumatic brain injuries. Brian Messing reports from the state Capitol.

MESSING (:60) More than 600-thousand children under the age of 21 years sustain a traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI – and children under the age of five years are at most risk. Abusive head injury is the most common cause of death and long-term disability for young children. That injury may be inflicted by blunt force trauma, shaking or a combination of forces.

Representative Tom Dent wants to make sure children entering the state's foster care system are screened for TBI, and get help, if it is needed.

DENT (:17) “I've studied concussions. I know what they do. And I feel that sometimes with my experience as a foster parent, and having some kids come into the home, they're out of an abusive relationship, and they can't focus on their school work, they have a hard time following simple rules, maybe we're missing something here. Maybe we should look just a little bit deeper in what the issue might be.”

MESSING: House Bill 1605 would require traumatic brain injury screenings for children entering the foster care system. Under the bill, the Department of Children, Youth and Families would evaluate TBI screening tools to be included with other existing screens for children in out-of-home care.

The bill passed the House unanimously. It's now under consideration in a Senate committee. Brian Messing, Olympia.


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