From a press release: Under legislation passed Monday by the Washington State House of Representatives, foster parents will have an official list of foster parent rights and responsibilities.

Rep. Tom Dent, the prime-sponsor of House Bill 2785, said the idea was brought to him by a foster parent group in central Washington.

“After I met with the foster parent group I talked with staff and we looked over their list of requests and concerns and what we found out in our research is that many of the issues they wanted to address were already in state law,” said Dent, R-Moses Lake. “I was a foster parent for a long time. If I had known about a lot of what was in statute, I may still be a foster parent today. Moving forward we are going to make sure those who want to be foster parents and those who are licensed foster parents know what their rights and responsibilities are.”

The new bill will require the Department of Children, Youth, and Families to provide foster parents with a list of foster parent rights and responsibilities at orientation before licensure, when they receive their license, and at license renewal.

“Foster parenting is an incredibly difficult task. The challenges are immense,” said Dent. “Anything we can do to support or encourage new prospects and those who are still foster parenting is critical. Our foster care system is struggling as we are 1,000 foster parents short of where we need to be.”

The bill passed the House unanimously. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn the 60-day session on March 8.

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