A Message from DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter

DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter

May 4, 2021 Issue

Recent News

Child Care Need and Supply Data Dashboard

Tribal ECEAP During COVID-19: Squaxin Island Tribe

Week of Action: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 

Recent Reports

Behavior Rehabilitation Services Semi-Annual Report

Language Access Provider Report

Quarterly Social Service Specialists Report

Upcoming Events 

2021 Legislative Session Wrap-up Webinar: Tuesday, May 4, from 2 to 3 p.m.

Child Care Providers Updates Webinar: Monday, May 10, from 1 to 2 p.m. (English)

Child Care Providers Updates Webinar: Monday, May 10, from 6 to 7 p.m. (Spanish)

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Community Meeting: Tuesday, May 18, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (Somali)

Parent Advisory Group Meeting: Tuesday, May 18, from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

CCDF Community Meeting: Thursday, May 20, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (Spanish)

Outdoor Preschool Advisory Group Meeting: Monday, May 24, from 3 to 5 p.m.

CCDF Community Meeting: Monday, May 24, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (English)

Joint Early Learning Advisory and Provider Supports Subcommittee Meeting: Tuesday, June 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, registration links, or questions about these events, please contact DCYF Community Engagement.

Olympia Capitol Building

Successful 2021 Legislative Session

The 2021 Legislative Session closed on April 25, and with it came many strong investments and positive policy changes for children, youth, and families across our state. The Legislature displayed an immense amount of trust in the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) to implement major initiatives and distribute new resources on ambitious timelines. 

Both pieces of our agency request legislation passed (HB 1186 and SB 5151), which includes $11.2 million to establish a community transition services program for youth in Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) and marks Washington as the first state in the nation to license outdoor, nature-based early learning.

DCYF fared very well in a multitude of areas this session with positive investments in nearly every corner of the agency, including:

  • A $5.6 million behavioral health services package to hire JR staff to help youth with substance use disorders and support dialectical behavioral therapy.
  • $11.5 million for 119 FTE caseworkers and supporting staff to reduce caseload ratios across the biennium.
  • Passage of HB 1194 and HB 1227 to strengthen DCYF practices and improve experiences for families involved in or that may become involved in the child welfare system.
  • $29.8 million to expand the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and add new slots.
  • Passage of the Fair Start Act, which will increase investments in early learning services and expand access to programs and services for families.

Be sure to join our 2021 Legislative Session Wrap-up Webinar at 2 p.m. today for a closer look at these topics and more. 

Youth gather together wearing facemasks

Extended Foster Care Eligibility Update

One of the populations hit hardest by the pandemic's economic and social fallout is young adults, particularly those who don't have the extensive family support networks that many of us and our children do. Youth and young adults in foster care are prime examples. Many of the jobs they would go into in retail, food service, or other in-person customer service jobs suddenly ceased to exist. The community college or high school they were attending suddenly ceased to provide in-person instruction, or even worse, just shut down.

Gov. Jay Inslee, the Legislature, Congress, and the new Biden administration have put some resources into ensuring that these young people don't fall through the cracks and wind up in a worse place than they are now. Just like the moratoriums on evictions, the Children's Bureau and the Legislature made it so that young people in Extended Foster Care (EFC) don't become homeless through no fault of their own.

In January, Gov. Inslee signed Proclamation 21-02: Extended Eligibility for Foster Care Services, which extended eligibility for foster care services to those who have turned or will turn 21 years old during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proclamation ensures that DCYF can follow the federal regulations (listed as Division X) in the new federal stimulus bill.

DCYF intends to remove all barriers allowed under this law to encourage youth to remain as participants in the EFC program

Youth who turn 21 remain eligible for EFC until at least Sept. 30, 2021. If youth left EFC because they aged out during the pandemic (between Jan. 27, 2020, to present), they can re-enter EFC regardless of whether they are in school or employed. 

Read more.