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2106 Accountability in Child Welfare


Description of the Legislation

Improving child welfare outcomes through the phased implementation of strategic and proven reforms.

Summary of the Legislation

By July 1, 2011, the DSHS must consolidate and convert its existing contracts for child welfare services to performance-based contracts linking the contractors' performance to the level and timing of reimbursement for services. Numerous administrative statutes relating to child welfare services and statutes governing the child dependency court processes are amended to reflect that the DSHS, as well as private contractors and Indian tribes, may provide child welfare services, including case management services, under performance-based contracts. Non-profit private contractors must receive primary preference over for-profit contractors.

Child Welfare Transformation Design Committee

A Child Welfare Transformation Design Committee (Committee) is established and charged with selecting two demonstration sites in which the DSHS must contract out for all child welfare services, and developing a transition plan for implementing the performance-based contracts.

The Committee includes representation from the following entities:

  • The Governor or the Governor's designee;
  • The Attorney General or Attorney General's designee;
  • The Assistant Secretary of the Children's Administration in DSHS;
  • Two Regional Administrators in Children's Administration in DSHS;
  • The Administrator for the Division of Licensed Resources in Children's Administration in DSHS;
  • The Office of the Family and Children's Ombudsman;
  • Four representatives from the Indian Policy Advisory Committee convened by DSHS;
  • The Racial Disproportionality Advisory Committee convened by the DSHS;
  • The bargaining representative for the largest number of Children's Administration's employees;
  • Two nationally recognized experts in performance-based contracting;
  • Four private agencies providing child welfare service in Washington (to be chosen by the legislature);
  • A parent with experience in the dependency process (chosen by the legislature);
  • Partners for Our Children (POC);
  • Two superior court judges; and
  • A foster parent (chosen by the legislature)

Demonstration Sites

The Committee will select the location and size of the demonstration sites to ensure adequate statistical power to assess any meaningful differences in outcomes in the demonstration sites as compared with the current service delivery system. Effective December 30, 2012, the DSHS must contract for all child welfare services in the demonstration sites, except for those services provided in the control group. Case management functions will be divided between DSHS Children's Administration and lead private agencies.

Reporting and Evaluations

The Committee must report in writing to the Governor and the Legislative Children's Oversight Committee as follows:

  • Quarterly from June 30, 2009, through July 1, 2012; and
  • Semi-annually from July 1, 2012, through January 1, 2015.

The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) must report to the Governor and the Legislature regarding the DSHS's conversion of existing contracts for child welfare services to performance-based contracts. An initial report is due June 30, 2011, and a final report is due June 30, 2012. The WSIPP also must conduct a review of the effects achieved in the demonstration sites. The WSIPP must provide a report to the Governor and the Legislature by April 1, 2015.

Governor's Authority

Based upon the reports from the WSIPP, the Governor shall, by June 1, 2015, determine whether to expand the demonstration sites or terminate the contracting of all child welfare services, including case management services. Regardless of the Governor's decision, the DSHS must continue use of performance-based contracts to the extent that it contracts for child welfare services.

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