I am an attorney who has represented foster parents. I really like your bill. It has been my experience that the department treats foster parents without due process, and make false and careless allegations which ruin children's lives.
The department should not be allowed to revoke licenses unless there is proof that a foster parent has actually harmed a child, as they use license revocations to remove children without having to consider the child's need, the child's stability. They just move them becaue the foster parent is losing a license.
The department is allowed to use hearsay (rumor) to revoke licenses, and this is a gross violation of due process. They have so much power - when they make a bunch of allegations, what foster parent can affort to challenge them?
They don't do adequate investigations and are likely to believe that a foster parent is guity when an allegation is made. I have testimony from state social workers who admit that they don't consider a child's interest when they remove children - they do this on allegations alone. With this power to "investigate" the department splits families and hurts children - not to mention foster parents. If the allegation is made by a child, they themselves are teaching the child to lie, to manipulate and to know that he/she is not accountable for lying.
I suggest that the department be prohibited from revoking licenses unless there is proof (clear and convincing) proof that they have harmed a child.
In my experience, the department does not afford foster parents due process. They "interview" people in secret, without witnesses or recordings. They write reports based on rumor and hearsay. They fail to interview witnesses, and misrepresent those they interview. Even though we have both RCW 26.44.020 and RCW 74.15.130 in place, the department uses unfounded prior allegations to take licenses, even though this is prohibited.
In my experience, foster parents are quite often amazing and devoted to children that are otherwise shunned. They should not be treated the way they are treated.
I appreciate your bill.
2) Re: 2011 House Bill 1930 (Concerning the rights of foster parents) by keith42 on February 14, 2011
I would like to add something to that statement. Anyone in fostercare can have a allegation and it's usually when not if. Also the more issues, the higher the care level and the older the placement the more likely you are to have allegations. Many kids have had there foster placements terminated because the foster parents couldn't afford to keep a difficult placement because of the allegations.
Let me clarify that there are some serious allegations that need immediate attention and there are those allegations like when a 11yr old tells someone their foster parents don't let them do their homework and the following week or month there will be another allegation. Soon the foster parent is concerned of loosing their license and has to make the difficult decision to terminate the placement.
Please take into consideration that many of the kids and biological family are very angry and know that creating allegations against a foster home is something that will get them attention and likely disrupt the home.
3) Re: 2011 House Bill 1930 (Concerning the rights of foster parents) by fosterkid on February 10, 2011
According to DSHS, out of over 800 allegations last year alone, less than 40 were "founded." Meanwhile, over half of the kids in foster care were moved and never returned to their foster families. Never returned to the friends they had just made in school, in their neighborhoods. Never returned to their cub scout troop, their choir, their 4-H Club. Do you think that doesn't mess with their head?
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