HB 2026 creates a new section in RCW chapter 74.13 regarding relatives of a child placed in out-of-home care. “Relatives” are defined as those established in RCW 74.15.020(2)(a)(i)-(vi).
The legislature requires DCYF to:
- Conduct an extensive search for relatives of a child beginning at the time a child is placed in out-of-home care;
- Make every effort to identify all possible relative placement options no later than 6 months after the child’s placement in out-of-home care;
- This will be considered ongoing relative search efforts, after 6 months, DCYF shall no longer make efforts.
- Make every effort to place a child in an identified relative placement no later than 1 year after a child’s placement in out-of-home care.
Furthermore, this act determines that if an identified relative placement is not able to be a placement resource after 1 year of a child’s placement in out-of-home care, but may be able to be a placement resource in the future, a transition plan must be established between the child and the potential relative placement. This plan will include:
- A visitation plan between the child and the potential relative placement provider; and
- A timeline for possible placement to be created by DCYF.