Governor signs Hargrove’s bill to ensure foster parents receive timely notice of court hearings
A bill sponsored by Rep. Mark Hargrove to better streamline communication between the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and foster parents has been signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. Hargrove’s House Bill 2591 will require DSHS to provide foster parents with timely and adequate notice of their right to be heard before each dependency court proceeding.
Hargrove, R-Covington, says the current system of communication is inadequate.
“Foster parents are one of the most valuable resources our courts have when it comes to deciding what is in the best interest of a foster child,” said Hargrove. “Unfortunately, many foster parents are not currently being notified of court hearings in a timely manner, which not only negatively effects them, but our foster children as well. This bill addresses that problem to create better systems of communication going forward.”
In order to verify a foster parent has been notified of a court hearing, the bill requires courts 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 also adds 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.
Hargrove’s bill was unanimously approved in the House and Senate before being signed into law by the governor. It goes into effect June 2016.
###Washington State House Republican Communications