House approves Rep. Hargrove’s bill to ensure foster parents receive timely notice of hearings
The House has unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Mark Hargrove that would require the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to better communicate with foster parents. Under House Bill 2591, DSHS would be required to provide foster parents with timely and adequate notice of their right to be heard before each dependency court proceeding.
Hargrove says this a long-overdue reform to the state's foster care system.
“One of the most valuable resources our courts have in making decisions that are in the best interest of a foster child are the foster parents themselves,” said Hargrove, R-Covington. “Unfortunately, many foster parents don't feel like they're treated as valuable partners in the system because they're not being notified of court hearings in a timely manner. This bill would address that problem.”
In order to verify a foster parent has been notified of a court hearing, the bill would require a court to create written findings about whether or not:
1) Foster parents were notified in a timely manner.
2) The court received a caregiver's report.
3) The court provided the foster parents an opportunity to be heard.
The bill would also add an extra layer of accountability by requiring the Administrative Office of the Courts to create an Annual Dependency Report to track how well the state is doing in providing proper notification to foster parents.
House Bill 2591 now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
###Washington State House Republican Communications