Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Home page

Information for Professionals, Advocates and Relatives Raising Children

Legislative, Policy and Information Documents on Washington State

Kinship Care Activities

Washington State Kinship Care Timeline (PDF)

Overview of Washington State Kinship Care Accomplishments (PDF)

1998 Legislation 

SHB 1121-Custody of Dependent Children (PDF)
This law created a legal option for relatives to go into court and get custody, drop the dependency and not have to terminate parental rights.

1999 Legislation 

SSB 5210-Placing Child with Relative Placements
This law directed the DSHS to place children with relatives, unless issues of safety precluded such placements.

2002 Legislative Reports

Washington State Institute for Public Policy report on Kinship Care (June, 2002 PDF)
The WA State Legislature in 2001 appropriated $50,000 for the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to study the issue of kinship care in WA State and to make recommendations. A statewide kinship survey was implemented and the results were included in the report.

Substitute House Bill 1397 (PDF), sponsored by Representative Kip Tokuda, authorized a Kinship Care Work Group to develop and prioritize recommendations based on the WSIPP report to make kinship care “a robust component of the out-of-home placements spectrum”. Later in 2004, the group’s legislative report included 23 recommendations to improve services and policies in the areas of financial, legal, social services and systems change. Washington State Kinship Work Group Report to Legislature (WORD).

2003 Legislation 

SHB 1233-Improving Services for Kinship Caregivers, sponsored by Representative Pettigrew, required the development of a stronger relative search process for families involved with the child welfare system, the formation of a statewide kinship oversight committee to oversee kinship care activities, and the creation of two Kinship Navigator pilot projects through a public and private collaboration. 

2004 Report

WA State Kinship Oversight Committee Report (PDF) to the legislature

2005 Legislation

SHB 1280-WA State Kinship Care Oversight Committee (WORD), sponsored by Representative Pettigrew, continued the Washington State KinshipOversight Committee; a coalition of roughly 40 public and private organizations, kinship advocates and caregivers designed to address issues facing kinship caregivers across the state, develop public awareness and provide feedback to DSHS.

SHB 1281-Consent for medical care for child in kinship care (WORD) sponsored by Representative Pettigrew, allowed relatives raising children to access appropriate medical care on behalf of the children in their care, by permitting them to give informed consent to medical care for those children.

Evaluation report and replication manual (PDF). produced by Tri-West Group of the Kinship Navigator Projects funded by Casey Family Programs which operated for 18 months in Seattle-King County and in the Yakima County region. 

DSHS ongoing commitment (PDF) to Kinship Care (January, 2005)

2005 WA State Kinship Care Oversight Committee Legislative Report (PDF).

2006 Legislation

SHB3139 - Kinship Caregivers’ Consent for Mental Health Care of Minors (PDF). Sponsored by Rep. Pettigrew, HB3139 clarifies that “a competent adult representing himself or herself to be a relative responsible for the health care of such minor patient or a competent adult who has signed and dated a declaration under penalty or perjury” is able to consent to the mental health care for children in their care, in the same way they are able to consent to health care.

To learn more about what is happening in Washington and also in other states, click on the various 2006 State Fact Sheets on Relatives Raising Children (PDF).