Washington State House Democrats


Bipartisan, popularly supported, and research-based proposal to help kids in jeopardy

Legislative News from Representative Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle)

Bipartisan, popularly supported, and research-based proposal to help kids in jeopardy 

OLYMPIA – A bipartisan proposal to change how the state serves children and families is one of the possible casualties of a government shutdown. House Bill 1661, which would create a Department of Children, Youth, and Families passed the House with broad support three times this year. The Senate has not yet passed the bill.

There is growing concern that as the clock runs out on the current fiscal year, this important legislation will be one of the casualties—and children, youth and families will have to wait another year for this important reform.

On Tuesday, Governor Inslee met with foster parents and young people in foster care to underscore the importance of this legislation to changing the culture of our child welfare system to focus on prevention and early intervention.

Washington is a leader in using research driven policies that set children up for success throughout their lives. In 2006, the legislature used brain science as the foundation to establish the Department of Early Learning, which is nationally recognized for bringing change to Washington’s youngest learners. This week, Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Director of the Center on the Developing Child, spoke at a Governor’s breakfast on the importance of research based approaches to preventing harm to children.

“We know that current programs serving children, youth, and families could more effectively prevent harm to children, and intervene to support healthy development,” said Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle), prime sponsor of HB 1661 and chair of the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee. “This proposal is based on brain science and is a result of years of work to determine how best to serve young people across our state.”