Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How is family support faring? A legislative update

Eighty percent of the people in Washington enrolled as clients of the Developmental Disability Administration, live with family members.

Families help their loved ones with intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) learn how to live in the community, pursue independence, integration and full participation. They may be lifelong, primary providers for their loved one’s physical, economic and emotional support. Often they are caretakers, providing medical, behavioral and other daily support well beyond what most families provide.

So ... how are we supporting families in our state policies?

We found at least four bills this legislative session that speak to family support. Three of them for all families, in general, and one specifically for families of people with I/DD.

Family support bills

To comment on any bill, click on the number. That will take you to the bill page. Once there, click on “Comment on this bill” button. (Hint: Legislative staff said some users have reported problems with the “verify district” step when using phones or handheld devices. You need to double click that button. Also, be sure the state is “WA” and not “Washington.”)

 HB 1661 - Creating the department of children, youth, and families 

  • The purpose is to take a proactive approach to investing in and supporting children and families. Early Support for Infants and Toddlers as well as oversight and support for early learning and child care will be housed in the new department. Services specific to people with developmental disabilities will stay with the Department of Social and Human Services. Families of children with I/DD that interact with foster care, child welfare and the juvenile justice system will interact with the new agency.
Sponsors: Kagi, Sullivan, Dent, Senn, Muri, Kilduff, Klippert, Frame, Goodman, Ortiz-Self, Wilcox, Lovick, Hargrove, Clibborn, Lytton, Appleton, Fitzgibbon, Orwall, Kloba, Sells, Fey, Macri, Bergquist, Pollet, Hudgins, Robinson, Stanford, Slatter

  • Creates the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and moves responsibility for early learning from the Department of Early Learning and child welfare programs from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to the DCYF on July 1, 2018, and juvenile justice programs from the DSHS to the DCYF on July 1, 2019.
  • Creates an Office of Innovation, Alignment, and Accountability within the Office of the Governor with the duty to develop a plan for the establishment of the DCYF. In the first year, this will include establishing mechanisms for family and community partnerships, and developing a stakeholder advisory mechanism. Families are to be involved in the development of these mechanisms.
  • Creates an Oversight Board for Children, Youth, and Families established by the Office of the Family and Children's Ombuds for the purpose of monitoring and ensuring that the DCYF achieves its stated outcomes.
HB 1116 - Implementing family and medical leave insurance
  • Has not yet passed out of the House. It could be considered necessary to implement the budget, however, and still be taken up.
Sponsors: Robinson, Doglio, Senn, Reeves, Gregerson, Frame, Lytton, Kagi, Stonier, Tarleton, Jinkins, Ortiz-Self, Ormsby, Macri, Riccelli, Tharinger, Appleton, Stanford, Peterson, McBride, Kloba, Kirby, Dolan, Hudgins, Wylie, Slatter, Santos, Pollet, Farrell, Bergquist, Goodman, Sells

  • Provides benefits for individuals on leave for a family member's or the individual's own serious health condition or for a military exigency, in addition to leave for a child's birth or placement.
  • Allows 26 weeks of leave for birth or placement of a child, a family member's serious health condition, or a military exigency, beginning October 1, 2019, plus beginning October 1, 2020, 12 weeks of leave for an individual's own serious health condition.
  • Establishes eligibility as 340 hours in the individual's qualifying year, rather than 680 hours.
  • Bases benefits on the individual's wages rather than a flat amount.

  • Specifies a premium of 0.255 percent of wages beginning on July 1, 2018, and then 0.51 percent of wages beginning on January 1, 2020, with subsequent annual adjustments, and allows employers to deduct one-half of premiums from employee wages.
HB 1322 - Reducing training requirements for developmental disability respite providers working three hundred hours or less in any calendar year.
  • This trims the required hours of training for people who provide occasional respite care (usually for friends or family) and gives providers more flexibility to choose the type training that they need for the clients they serve. We hope it helps alleviate some of the struggles families have in retaining respite providers.
Sponsors: Kilduff, Harris, Kagi, Senn, Cody, Short, McDonald, Caldier, Dent, Tharinger, Dye, Robinson, Lovick, Appleton, Goodman, Fey, Hudgins, Sawyer, Muri, Jinkins, McBride, Doglio

  • Individual providers who provide respite care services for individuals with developmental disabilities and who work 300 hours or less in a calendar year must complete 14 hours of training within 120 days of becoming an individual provider.
  • Five hours of training must be completed before providing care; this includes 2 hours of orientation training and 3 hours of safety training.
  • The training partnership must offer at least 12 hours of training online and individual providers must be able to select elective course for at least five online courses.
HB 1618 - Concerning family and community engagement coordinators
  • Home-school partnership is the cornerstone of special education and securing 504 accommodations. We like this for flagging the importance of working with families
Sponsors: Ortiz-Self, Harris, Santos, Johnson, Bergquist, Kagi
  • Changes the terms "parent involvement coordinator" in the prototypical school funding formula statute and "parent and family engagement coordinator" in the LAP statute to "family and community engagement coordinator."
  • Specifies the minimum duties for a family and community engagement coordinator.
  • Provides that funding allocated to school districts for family and community engagement coordinators may be used only for family and community engagement purposes.