Among other provisions, SB5151 will permanently establish outdoor nature-based child care, create a child-specific foster care license, and change the definition of a “suitable person” caregiver.
The definition of a “Qualified Residential Treatment Program” is now: a program that meets the requirements provided in RCW 13.34.420, qualifies for funding under the family first prevention services act, and, if located within Washington state, is licensed as a group care facility.
Outdoor nature-based child care is now defined as an agency or agency-offered program that enrolls preschool or school-age children, provides early learning services in an outdoor natural space, and teaches a nature-based curriculum to enrolled children. Seasonal camps and inspection report are also defined.
Outdoor nature-based child care is added throughout the RCW as part of the early learning system.
Additionally, SB5151 allows the department of children, youth and families to issue a child-specific license to a relative, or a suitable person, who becomes licensed for placement of a specific child and that child's siblings or relatives in the department's care, custody, and control. Such individuals must meet all minimum licensing requirements for foster family homes and are subject to child-specific license criteria, which the department is authorized to establish by rule.
For purposes of federal funding, a child-specific license is considered a full license with all of the rights and responsibilities of a foster family home license, except that at the discretion of the department the licensee may only receive placement of specific children.
Placement with a relative or suitable person who holds a child-specific license is subject to the department's sole discretion.
The department shall seek input from the following stakeholders during the development and adoption of rules necessary to implement this section: Representatives from the kinship care oversight committee, an organization that represents current and former foster youth, an organization that represents child placing agencies, and a statewide advisory group of foster youth and alumni of foster care. The department shall also seek Tribal input as outlined in the department's government-to-government policy.
- Makes an outdoor nature-based child care pilot program permanent and adds this program to various provisions.
- Amends provisions related to child care licensing including the definition of seasonal camps, programs in private schools, background check submissions, and an internal review process.
- Makes changes to foster care licensing including creating a child-specific license and the definition of a qualified residential treatment program.
- Prohibits the secretary of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families from charging fees to the licensee for obtaining a child care license until June 30, 2023.