Social and Economic Policy
Children's Issues

Promote policies and funding to ensure a coordinated continuum of care for children at risk, reducing children removed from home or kinship networks by providing families with the supports they need and expand extended foster care.


Issue Team Chair: Janet Hedgepath, jhedgepath@lwvwa.org
 DOWNLOAD the Children's Issues Issue Paper
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Contact Janet Hedgepath


Take Action!

Updates

Legislation


Get Involved

Overview of the 2024 Legislative Session

During the 2023 session there were several bills to assist youth transitioning out of foster care. In 2024, we will continue to advocate for a more supported transition for these youth.

Several bills addressing child sexual abuse/exploitation will be in the legislature this year. A primary focus will be strengthening reporting laws and providing trauma focused treatment for abuse survivors.


Updates
If there is a major update on a bill, action chairs may want to write up a report detailing changes or summarizing debate in committee.


2024 Children's Issues Legislation
Please refer to the weekly updates above for current status of the bills below.

Priority Bills

Bills in green are supported. Bills in red are opposed by the League. Bills in black the League is watching.

HB 1455/SB 5695 Eliminating Child Marriagenot recognizing marriage until the age of 18.

HB 2218/SB 5908 Extended foster care for youth 18-21. Directs the Department of Children, Youth and Families to make a number of changes to the Extended Foster Care Program to reduce barriers to participation.


Bills Not Moving Forward this Session
Bills in green are supported. Bills in red are opposed by the League. Bills in black the League is watching.

HB 1479/SB 5559 Concerning Restraint or Isolation of Students in Public Schools and Educational Programs. Prohibits the isolation, mechanical restraint, or chemical restraint of students by school staff, including the phasing out of isolation rooms.

HB 2016 Allowing Certain Minors to Contract for Housing and Utilities.

HB 2076/SB 6057 Addressing crimes involving human trafficking and sexual exploitation statewide. A coordinating committee is established to address the issue of children who are commercially sexually exploited, to examine the practices of local and regional entities involved in addressing sexually exploited children, and to make recommendations on statewide laws and practices.

SB 5591 Providing Dependent Youth with Financial Education and Support.

SB 6298 Concerning the Duty of Clergy to Report Child Abuse and Neglect. This bill adds clergy to the list of mandated reporters when there is reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect. Provides an exception to the mandated reporter requirement for child abuse or neglect for members of the clergy when the information is obtained solely in the context of penitential communication. SB 6298 did not make it out of the House Committee on Human Services, Youth and Early Learning


How To Be Involved

  • If you are interested in a particular bill, use the links above to go to the webpage for that bill. These pages include staff summaries and reports including who testified PRO versus CON on the bill. There is also information about how to access videos of hearings that have been held. 
  • Read and take action through the LWVWA Legislative Action Newsletter, distributed each Sunday during the legislative session.
  • You may also express your opinion on legislation with the LWVWA issue chairs. We will take your perspectives under consideration as we determine our support for legislation and prepare testimony. Please direct questions or comments to Janet Hedgepath, Children's Issues Issue Chair.

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