Washington State Ranks Fifth in the Nation for Laws and Policies Supporting Grandfamilies

Washington State ranks fifth in the nation for laws and policies supporting Grandfamilies

A recent report, “State of Grandfamilies in America” by Generations United, ranked Washington fifth in the nation when it comes to grandfamily-friendly laws and policies.

An estimated 53,000 children in Washington are being raised by some 43,000 grandparents and other relatives.  Most children are living informally, outside of the child welfare system, with relatives.

DSHS provides services and supports for kinship caregivers who are raising children living with relatives informally and while in foster care, as well as financial supports.  Additionally, in 30 of the state’s counties, Kinship Navigators provide kinship caregivers with information about available resources, including the consent of health care law for grandfamilies.

“Our program has demonstrated support of kinship caregivers, results in better lives for children.” said Bill Moss, Assistant Secretary, DSHS Aging and Long-Term Support Administration. 

Behind the service delivery is a strong partnership with the governor, legislature, public, and private stakeholders. .

Assistant Secretary Moss further commented, “Washington has worked since 1998 to strategize and introduce laws and policies intentionally designed to address barriers and better support the unique needs of kinship caregivers.”

Since 2003, Washington’s Kinship Care Oversight Committee, chaired by DSHS, has worked to develop and recommends statewide policies to strengthen and support families who provide kinship care.

The other top states noted in the report include: California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas and New Jersey, who tied with Washington for the fifth place ranking.

For more information about kinship caregiving in Washington, please visit our website.