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Youth of color and Native American youth are overrepresented in foster care, among youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, and in our juvenile justice system. We acknowledge this disproportionality and seek solutions that eliminate those disparities and promote well-being for each and every child and young person.

IDs with Ease

Youth and young adults experiencing homelessness face documentation and financial barriers to obtaining state ID cards. Removing these barriers would improve access to housing and employment while helping them transition into adulthood.
  • We propose legislation that would, (1) authorize school or service agency staff to verify identities, (2) reduce cost, and (3) streamline the process through a single point of contact at DOL and other relevant state agencies.

Expand MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ in Washington State

Mockingbird Family connects experienced foster parents with nearby foster families in a constellation of support. This model has a proven foster parent retention rate of 93% and results in greater placement stability for youth in care.

  • We propose increased funding to add four new constellations in areas with high demand for the model.

2020 Budget Request: $230,000

 

Long-Term Housing for Minors Experiencing Homelessness

There are no state-funded long-term housing options for youth experiencing homelessness. 30% of youth who exit short-term shelters go to another shelter or the streets. Youth would benefit from long-term housing options that can provide long-term safety and stability.
  • We propose establishing funding through the Office of Homeless Youth to fund 15 long-term beds for 16- and 17-year-olds at licensed facilities.

2020 Budget Request: $1,007,400

SB 5290 Implementation

SB 5290 phases out the use of juvenile detention for noncriminal behavior like truancy or running away. In lieu of detention, families and youth who are at risk need community-based, culturally competent services designed to address family conflict and other issues.
  • Improve and invest in community-based programs designed to help a) strengthen families and resolve the crisis quickly, b) address placement stability for youth in foster care, and c) expand capacity for youth with acute behavioral health needs and/or experiencing sexual exploitation.

Join us in Olympia for Youth Advocacy Day on January 31, 2020

 

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Youth of color and Native American youth are overrepresented in foster care, among youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, and in our juvenile justice system. We acknowledge this disproportionality and seek solutions that eliminate those disparities and promote well-being for each and every child and young person.

Support LGBTQ+ Young People in Care

LGBTQ+ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system and currently not all foster families are prepared and trained to support LGBTQ+ youth.
  • Expand the available trainings on serving LGBTQ+ youth for foster parents, including requiring a preservice training on this topic. Allow foster parents to self-identify as supportive homes for LGBTQ+ youth.

Increased Training for Foster Parents and Social Workers

System service providers should have access to comprehensive trainings to better serve and support the diversity of youth in foster care.
  • Increase trauma-informed and culturally-responsive trainings for foster parents and social workers. In collaboration with The Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence, child placing agencies, and the Department of Children, Youth & Families.

My Voice, My Story

Youth in foster care often find their casefiles do not accurately represent their experiences. Young people should be able to tell their own stories in their own words in their DCYF casefiles
  • Establish a policy change that allows youth in foster care to submit a statement about themselves and their preferences in their DCYF casefiles to be shared with caregivers and caseworkers.

Equitable, Accurate Vulnerability Index Assessments

Federal guidelines require communities to participate in coordinated entry and to use a “vulnerability assessment” to prioritize housing resources. The most commonly used assessment, the VI-SPDAT, does not accurately assess youth vulnerability and has been shown to discriminate against people of color.
  • In collaboration with the Office of Homeless Youth and the Balance of State Continuum of Care, identify a more equitable vulnerability assessment that utilizes a racial equity lens. Advocate that all Continuums of Care in WA adopt this assessment.

Youth-Informed Evaluation of Training for Young Adult Shelter Staff

Young adult shelter staff receive inconsistent training to support the diverse needs of youth. Young people with experience at young adult shelters have the most expertise and interest in evaluating shelter staff and the trainings available to them.
  • In collaboration with the Office of Homeless Youth, develop a participant satisfaction survey at young adult shelters, and incorporate youth voice in selecting training staff.
 

Expand Master Leasing Programs

Master Leasing programs assist people who are often barred from renting to access housing. An agency acts as an intermediary between landlords and tenants by leasing units and subletting them to tenants. These programs can assist young people who have experience in foster care and/or homelessness to access safe and stable housing, but the model is not widely known or implemented.
  • Expand Master Leasing programs across Washington State and increase education about these programs. In collaboration with the Office of Homeless Youth, identify opportunities to expand this model.

Join us in Olympia for Youth Advocacy Day on January 31, 2020