Friday, February 19, 2016

Governor Signs New Executive Order to Help Kids

Gov. Inslee signs executive order on February 18.
Yesterday, Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order establishing a Blue Ribbon Commission on the Delivery of Services to Children and Families. The Governor expressed his interest in creating a Children and Family Department in Washington State government.  He is convinced that such a focus will increase the awareness of and advocacy for better outcomes for at-risk children in our state. 

According to the Governor's press release,
"Inslee intends to work with the Legislature to create a new cabinet agency charged with overseeing the services the state provides to vulnerable children and families. Many of these services are currently administered by the state Department of Social & Health Services."
Inslee cited growing evidence from states such as New Jersey, Tennessee, and Indiana that have created separate children’s departments and are seeing better outcomes due to the improved focus, visibility and accountability on children’s services.

This commission will consist of sixteen (16) members and is tasked with five outcomes due to the Governor by November 1, 2016.  DEL Director, Ross Hunter will serve on the commission along with two counterparts at the Department of Social and Health Services.  The commission will also include legislators, a representative from the Washington Federation of State Employees, judicial and tribal representatives and experts in child welfare.
"The core idea is to think about the services that we provide to children from a number of agencies and improve our coordination," said Hunter. "Can we do a better job of integrating what the Department of Health, the TANF system, child welfare, OSPI, the courts, juvenile rehab, etc. provide to kids to have better outcomes?"
Washington state made a similar move in 2007 to boost early learning by creating a Department of Early Learning. Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle), chair of the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee, said the success of DEL is one reason she’s supporting Inslee’s proposal.
"Our children and families will greatly benefit from an agency dedicated to improving outcomes for our youngest Washingtonians,” Kagi said. “I have opposed this idea for many years, but the Department of Early Learning has demonstrated how much alignment and focus on outcomes can dramatically improve both the quality of services and the efficiency of managing complex programs. I wholeheartedly support the governor’s proposal."

Relevant Links

Q&As on the governor’s Executive Order: Transforming Services for Children and Families in Washington state
Executive Order 16-03: Transforming Services for Children and Families in Washington state

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