New Approach to Helping Abused Kids, Foster Children, Families

Lawmakers in Olympia are looking at a major shakeup in the agencies that work with kids and families.  Dan Frizzell has that story.

“Children need help at critical points in their life, and the way we have structured services, we frequently are not there at the right time and we don’t have the best intervention.”

That’s Representative Ruth Kagi.  Kagi, a Democrat from north Seattle, chairs the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee.  Right now, the state offices that provide a wide range of services to children, families, foster kids, teens and the like are scattered among several agencies and answer to several bosses.  Kagi saw that as inefficient and sometimes ineffective, and wrote legislation to consolidate these various offices into a single, cabinet-level state agency. If her bill becomes law, the newly minted Department of Children, Youth, and Families would take what Kagi calls a ‘data-driven, research-based’ approach to serving clients.  As to what that means, here’s Kagi again:

“This department will be strategic in figuring out when is the best time and the most appropriate service to provide to keep families together whenever possible and to keep children and youth on course.” 

After passing with a 77-to-19 vote in the House, Kagi’s bill now heads to the Senate. In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.