Washington State House Democrats


Callan bills focusing on youth signed by Gov. Inslee

OLYMPIA – In a ceremony at the Capitol Monday (May 3), Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a pair of bipartisan bills sponsored by Rep. Lisa Callan (D-5, Issaquah).

HB 1295, which received unanimous approval in both the House and Senate, focuses on the education needs of young people involved in the juvenile justice system.

“School-aged youth who are in or recently released from institutional facilities are at a crucial point in their lives,” Callan said. “My bill works to ensure they have access to a meaningful education, and have a pathway to graduate with post-secondary opportunities, giving these students, our kids who are struggling the most, hope for a better future.”

HB 1295 grew out of Callan’s work as co-chair of the bipartisan Improving Institutional Education Programs and Outcomes Task Force. It promises to increase the quality of, and access to, the education resources and programs that exist for young people during this difficult time in their lives. The new law will bring together the various entities that have a hand in educating institutionalized youth – the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, the State Board of Education, and local educational service districts and the schools they serve.  It calls on each of them to improve education access and delivery, student supports, data collection and reporting, and facility policies.

The other Callan bill signed Monday, HB 1373, requires public schools to post contact information for behavioral health organizations on the home page of the school’s website and on social media platforms used by the district. Like HB 1295, this policy resulted from Callan’s work with constituents and stakeholders. In this case it was members of the Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC), who recognized the need to use today’s technology to help young people who want access to behavioral health resources.   

“The LYAC is an inspiring group of involved young people,” Callan said, “and I’m proud to have introduced this bill on their behalf. Behavioral health is important for everyone, including our youth. Making resources available when and where they’re needed, and making sure they are relevant, is what this legislation is about. This is more critical now than ever before, as student interaction has been mostly virtual for so long and isolation is at an all-time high. Our students asked for this, it makes perfect sense, and I’m glad my colleagues and Gov. Inslee agreed.”

Both HB 1295 and 1373 will take effect on July 24, 2021. 

[Bill-signing photo]

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