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.