On January 31st, the House Early Learning & Human Services Committee held a public hearing for HB 1204- Sibling Visits.
This bill was inspired by several years of youth in care expressing that they are not getting enough contact with their siblings while in foster care. If passed, it will provide specific guidance for case managers, caregivers and youth on how often visits or contacts need to occur and when they can and cannot be restricted. Currently, only 38% of foster youth in Washington state have contact with their siblings at least twice a month.
Jessy Stewart is 18 and recently aged out of foster care. He joined Jim Theofelis to share his experiences with committee members on how important having contact with siblings is while growing up in foster care. He ends his testimony by pointing out that while it is too late for this legislation to help him, he hopes that it can help those that come after. Watch him tell his powerful story below: