Commission on Children in Foster Care
March 19, 2012
Justice Bobbe Bridge, (ret.) Washington State Supreme Court, Commission Co-Chair
Asst. Secretary Denise Revels Robinson, DSHS Children’s Administration, Commission Co-Chair
Mr. Jim Bamberger, Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA)
Mr. Mike Canfield, Co-Chair, Foster Parents Association of Washington
Ms. Christina Parker (on behalf of Chorisia Folkman), NW Intertribal Court System Representative
Ms. Carrie Wayno, Attorney General’s Office
Mr. Ron Hertel, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
Rep. Mary Helen Roberts, Washington State House of Representatives
Ms. Jeannie Kee, Foster Youth Alumni Representative
Members not present:
Ms. Beth Canfield; Mr. Ryan Cummings; Senator James Hargrove; Ms. Barbara James; Judge Laura Inveen; Ms. Joanne Moore; Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck.
Ms. Amanda Bevington, The Mockingbird Society; Mr. Jon Brumbach, The Mockingbird Society;
Ms. Hathaway Burden, Center for Children & Youth Justice (CCYJ); Mr. Ben de Haan, Partners for Our Children; Mr. David Del Villar Fox, DSHS Children’s Administration; Judge Anne Hirsch, Thurston County Family & Juvenile Court; Mr. Fredrick Kingston, The Mockingbird Society; Ms. Laurie Lippold, Children’s Home Society of Washington; Mr. Rich Pannkuk, DSHS Children’s Administration; Ms. Barb Putnam, DSHS Children’s Administration; Ms. Martha Raske, Eastern Washington University; Ms. Janet Skreen, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC); Ms. Margaret Spearmon, University of Washington; Ms. Theresa Tanoury, University of Washington; Mr. Jim Theofelis, The Mockingbird Society; Mr. Greg Williamson, OSPI.
Ms. Courtney Millan, CCFC Intern, CCYJ
Ms. Susan Peterson, AOC
Staff not present:
Mr. Michael Curtis, Executive Director
Call to Order:
Asst. Secretary Revels Robinson called the meeting to order.
Welcome and Introductions:
Asst. Secretary Revels Robinson welcomed Commission members and guests, and everyone introduced themselves.
Approval of December 19, 2012 Meeting Minutes
Asst. Secretary Revels Robinson presented the December 19, 2012, meeting minutes and asked for a motion to approve. Mr. Bamberger moved to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Ms. Wayno. The December 19, 2011, meeting minutes were approved unanimously as written.
DSHS/Children’s Administration Updates
Child Welfare, Education and the Courts Workgroup
Ms. Barb Putnam, DSHS Children’s Administration, began by discussing their first handout, titled “Action Plan – Child Welfare, Education and the Courts. A Collaboration to Strengthen Educational Success of Children and Youth in Foster Care, November 3-4, 2011.” The plan is now finalized and Children’s Administration is focused on their Braam outcomes in terms of education and doing some quality assurance and case review work. An education report will also be part of their Individual Service and Safety Plan (ISSP), and they will update the judges at every hearing.
Mr. Greg Williamson, OSPI, distributed a map titled “Licensed Foster Care Locations” which shows foster care locations by school district. He discussed the map and the plan to share data between DSHS and OSPI. Other maps, organized by legislative district and county are available on their web page. They are working on creating maps by zip codes as well. There was also discussion about overlay of CPS pull-out areas that would help with: recruitment and retention, keeping kids within their own schools of origin, empowering school districts to have conversations with communities, and increasing transportation capacity.
Ms. Janet Skreen, AOC, then discussed the third handout, titled “Dependent Child’s Education Judicial Checklist, May 9, 2006 Edition.” The one-page checklist was previously adapted from a 12-page checklist. Ms. Skreen asked the Commission for their input in order to update the form and assess its usefulness before the next Commission meeting on May 21. Ms. Skreen hopes to maintain the one-page format.
UW School of Social Work Training Partnership Agreement
Asst. Secretary Revels Robinson welcomed their partners: Ms. Theresa Tanoury and Ms. Margaret Spearmon, University of Washington; Ms. Martha Raske, Eastern Washington University; and Mr. Ben de Haan, Partners for Our Children.
Ms. Tanoury, the Project Manager, began by discussing their handout, titled “Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence: Building Better Tomorrows for Children and Families.” She noted how the partnership got started, including completing a concept paper, hiring a project manager, developing their mission, vision, values, and guiding principles, gathering information and lessons learned from other states, and completing financial review to maximum their federal training funds. Partners include: Children’s Administration (CA), Eastern Washington University School of Social Work, UW Tacoma Social Work Program, Partners for Our Children, and UW Seattle School of Social Work, and significant private sector partners as well, such as Ballmers and Gates. Mr. Williamson suggested partnering with OSPI as well.
The partners have talked with constituents in Washington State and through their discussions, their values have continued to change and evolve such as awareness towards disproportionality and focusing on families as well as children. It was expressed that the outcomes and results for the kids are most important. Their comprehensive approach, key components and delivery method are all being examined. Commission members made suggestions regarding relevance of training, importance of youth voice and family structure, policy as it relates to older youth, pregnant and parenting of youth in foster care, importance of communications being clear, court operations on outcomes for kids, and the importance of local AAG’s.
Ms. Tanoury said they currently have a 10-year master agreement. Their budget structure has been approved and they are looking at more regional development including a transfer of 30 staff. They are also looking at moving the academy/pre-service regionally (it’s in the planning stages now and exact date is contingent on the details) and will focus on supervisor development. Ms. Raske said they plan to continue what’s being done now, and also continue to reengineer as they go.
Mr. David Del Villar Fox and Ms. Laurie Lippold provided a legislative update. They distributed two handouts: (1) CA Bills of Interest As of 3-19-12 and (2) Summary of Performance-Based Contracting (ESB 2264) And Family Assessment Response (ESSB 6555). Mr. Del Villar Fox read through both handouts entirely, and he and Ms. Lippold clarified the details of each bill and gave Commission members the highlights.
They discussed the session and answered Commission members’ questions. Commission members applauded them for their work and thanked them for their time. Rep. Roberts was also recognized for her work on extended foster care.
Report to the Supreme Court
Justice Bridge, with Ms. Courtney Millan and Ms. Hathaway Burden, presented the Commission on Children in Foster Care’s Report to the Washington State Supreme Court, on February 8, 2012. Justice Bridge said the Report session went very well, the Supreme Court was very impressed, and wanted her to deliver to the Commission their congratulations and thanks for the good work they are doing.
Proposal for Project with the Gender and Justice Commission
During the report to the Washington State Supreme Court on February 8, Chief Justice Barbara Madsen proposed a joint project between the Commission on Children in Foster Care and the Gender and Justice Commission. Such a project could rejuvenate the domestic violence treatment protocol project. The idea would be to get more counties interested in adapting the protocol that was developed a few years ago. In the past, it has been done in King, Whatcom, and Thurston Counties, and there has been much interest in doing it in Spokane and the Benton-Franklin Counties. Chief Justice Madsen, who is also the Chair of the Gender and Justice Commission, would like the Commissions to consider partnering and possibly taking the lead on this project.
Justice Bridge asked the Commission for permission to pursue this idea and look into additional options to present to the commissions on how they might work together regarding the intersection of domestic violence and child maltreatment. The Commission agreed she should pursue it. Commission members said they like and encourage the idea of commissions working together in common purpose for a common objective, and they think it is important to address the intersection of domestic violence and child maltreatment. Justice Bridge will pursue this and provide members with additional information soon.
Foster Youth Leadership & Alumni Summit and Youth Advocacy Day Update
Mr. Frederick Kingston, Youth Network Coordinator for the Mockingbird Society, introduced himself to the group, and presented the achievements from Youth Advocacy Day, which took place on February 10, 2012, and a snapshot of what to expect at this year’s Foster Youth Leadership & Alumni Summit in June.
Amanda Bevington, Youth Network Representative at the Mockingbird Society, then introduced herself and showed a PowerPoint presentation to the group regarding the Youth Advocacy Day (YAD) on February 10, 2012. YAD is an annual event where foster youth can learn how to be their own best advocates, and come together with hundreds of other youth in the democratic process to create change that will positively affect their lives.
The goals for YAD were: to protect and maintain the programs that provide safe housing for youth who are aging out of foster care (including Foster Care to 21 funding, Responsible Living Skills Program, HB 2014 supporting HOPE Beds and the Independent Youth Housing Program, and expanding implementation of the Fostering Connections Act) and to protect street youth programs. Two bills that the youth pushed for, HB 2592 and HB 2048, passed the Legislature and were awaiting the Governor’s signature. The group witnessed the signing of HB 2592 (Extending Foster Care).
Ms. Bevington then discussed the attendance of foster youth and alumni from the various areas around the state of Washington. She pointed out the powerful impact of youth being able to speak with a legislator, which has increased from 48% in 2011, to 67% in 2012. She also shared a story about the Mockingbird Network Youth sitting in the galley, and the House of Representatives applauding them. Mr. Kingston also recognized Rep. Roberts for her role and impact on HB 2592.
Mr. Kingston then presented a PowerPoint regarding the upcoming 7th Annual Foster Youth Leadership & Alumni Summit, which is scheduled to take place on June 25-27, 2012. He briefly explained how the annual Summit was originally initiated in 2003, and that youth aged 14-24 from then six regions come to Western Washington, refine their policy objective, and then present to the Commission on the last day. He also thanked this year’s Summit sponsors, who include: The Mockingbird Society, Casey Family Programs, Children’s Administration, the Commission on Children in Foster Care, and the Center for Children & Youth Justice (CCYJ).
The first two days of the Summit will take place at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island, and then everyone will return to Seattle, the 2100 Building, on Wednesday, June 27, to present to the Commission from 12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. He shared the full Summit agenda with members and pointed out that this year there will be eight hours of training on “Managing Transitions.” He clarified that on June 27, there will be a special Legislative thank-you and celebration lunch for the Commission from 12:00-1:00 p.m., and the actual report to the Commission will take place from 1:00-3:00 p.m. He asked Commission members to attend both. He concluded that many policy ideas come out of this leadership summit that make the system better, inspired by the youth who went through the foster care system themselves.
Justice Bridge reminded members that this is an official Commission meeting, and that at least one member of their organization should attend the Summit on June 27, from 12:00-3:00 p.m. Mr. Kingston thanked the Commission for their time, and asked that they contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any questions.
Dependency Court Best Practices Workgroup Update
Judge Anne Hirsch, of Thurston County Superior Court and Chair of the Dependency Court Best Practices Workgroup, updated the Commission on the Workgroup’s progress to date. The Workgroup’s next meeting is on March 31 in SeaTac. Their goal is to provide a low-cost, comprehensive final product that judges can and will use. They want it to be user friendly and gather principles on best practices together in one benchbook that people can use when faced with discrete problems. They have hired Ingrid Mattson for 10 hours per week through the Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA) to work on this project.
In addition, the Workgroup currently has eight subcommittees. Judge Hirsch discussed the subcommittees and the work they have been doing. She gave members a handout with sample drafts of their work. Suggestions for additional members to the subcommittees included: Matt Orme and Carl McCurley, Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCRR), as well as adding a lawyer representative—possibly one who carries a regular or partial caseload of direct child representation.
Carrie Wayno talked about budget restraints and suggested creating a prioritized list of which factors work best/are most beneficial in which cases. Jim Bamberger suggested imbedding links to uploaded YouTube videos or interactive interviews within the report. Rep. Roberts emphasized the importance of looking at the impact of racial disproportionality in the adult criminal justice system and how that drives disproportionality in the child welfare system, and also how children of incarcerated parents fits into that.
The Workgroup’s estimated timeline to have their report finished is by the end of the summer.
Ms. Hathaway Burden, Project Coordinator, Center for Children & Youth Justice (CCYJ), gave an update on the Quality Improvement Center (QIC) project. To date, with the help of Rob Wyman and through the Office of Civil Legal Aid, they have successfully recruited 125 eligible attorneys. Mr. Wyman was also able to talk to appointed authorities and confirm that each attorney who participates will have at least three dependency cases annually.
With the recruitment finished, they are now able to guarantee the project will go forward. Each attorney who participates in the treatment group (which will be half of the 125 recruited) will go through a two-day best-practices training during the first year. Those trainings are currently scheduled in three locations throughout the state—King County, Olympia, and Pasco—for the beginning of May. The attorneys and jurisdictions will also have to complete surveys. This will give the evaluation team initial information about them to help insure the data collection will be accurate.
Creating a Foster Care Transitions Workgroup
This is still pending, and they will keep it on the agenda for the next meeting.
Request for a Housing Advocate on the Commission
The Commission discussed this request which was brought up in Nancy Roberts-Brown’s report at the last Commission meeting. The Commission decided to defer for now. They will continue inviting housing advocates to come to the Commission meetings to give reports/presentations about the issue.
Decision-Maker Summit Update
Ms. Courtney Millan gave an update on the Decision Makers Summit Report. She thanked everyone for their responses and reminded members that the new information is underlined in the report. Justice Bridge reiterated the Commission’s oversight and accountability role regarding the report. Members should contact Ms. Millan if they have any questions.
Court Order Regarding New Member
Justice Bridge told members that the Supreme Court signed their order regarding adding a new member to the Commission. The new Commission member will be a “birth parent representative,” someone who has been through the system as a parent. The Commission discussed what the process should be to obtain the new member. It was agreed that by the next meeting, Commission members will send Ms. Millan their recommendations for where the applications should be sent. Ms. Millan will then send the recommendations, with guidelines of member responsibilities, to the Commission for their feedback. Then the notice, including information about the Commission, member expectations, guidelines, etc., will be sent out to designated community groups.
Next Two Meetings
The next Commission meeting is on Monday, May 21, 2012, at the Temple of Justice, Chief Justice’s Reception Room. In addition, Commission members are to attend the Foster Youth and Alumni Leadership Summit on June 27, from 12:00-3:00 p.m., at the 2100 Building in Seattle.
There being no further business, Assistant Revels Robinson adjourned the meeting.
Respectfully submitted,Susan Peterson, AOC
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