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Current Issues

2022 Lead Legislative Agenda

Black and Indigenous youth, and other youth of color (BIPOC youth) are overrepresented in foster care, among those experiencing homelessness, and in our juvenile justice system due to historic and current systemic racism. We are actively committed to eliminating these disparities. We are also focused on addressing the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on young people. As always, our legislative agenda is guided and inspired by youth with lived experience.

 

Justice for Justice (HB 2034)

Juvenile records have significant consequences for young people and can cause youth difficulties as young adults. BIPOC youth face higher rates of referrals to court and adjudications for criminal offenses than their white counterparts, which further impacts their adult life. Current record sealing laws do not adequately protect youth from lifelong consequences.
 
Solution: Pass HB 2034 to ensure that young people with sealed juvenile records can move forward with employment, housing, and other opportunities by expunging juvenile records beginning at age 23, and strengthen accountability when sealed or destroyed records are released inappropriately.
 
Champion: Representative Frame
 

Financial Capability for Youth in Foster Care (SB 5824)

Young people in Washington state who are in Foster Care need access to financial literacy skills and a bank account at a young age, to help them be successful when they leave care. Without these resources, they can become trapped in a cycle of poverty.
 
Solution: Pass SB 5824 to direct DCYF to establish bank accounts for foster youth ages 14+, provide a monthly allowance of $25, and convene stakeholders to identify and implement financial education for foster youth 12+.
 
Champion: Senator Nobles
 

Extend Foster Care

Young people transition out of Extended Foster Care at a pivotal point in their life. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, young adults are exiting with lower incomes and fewer job prospects than pre-pandemic, facing economic crisis and/or homelessness as a result.

Solution: Budget proviso to continue monthly financial assistance for youth who age out of Extended Foster Care through the biennium.

Champion: Senator Wilson 

 

2022 Support Agenda

Consent to Care (SB 5883)

Improve healthcare access for unaccompanied homeless youth by expanding their consent options for routine
medical care.
 
Lead: WA Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy

Champions: Sen. Trudeau

Expand Independent Youth Housing Program (SB 5566)

Ensure housing stability for former foster youth by expanding eligibility for the Independent Youth Housing Program to include young adults 18-24 with any history of foster care, including those in Extended Foster Care.

Lead: Office of Homeless Youth

Champion: Sen. Kuderer 

Supporting Stable Transitions from Care (HB 1905)

Promote exits from systems of care into safe and stable housing for youth and young adults, including flexible funding for those exiting in-patient treatment, foster care, and juvenile justice as well as creating a rapid response team.

Lead: WA Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy 

Champion: Rep. Senn

Guaranteed Basic Income (HB 2009)

Provide a guaranteed basic income to Washingtonians making less than 50% of the area median income, providing targeted outreach to young adults exiting foster care or experiencing homelessness.

Lead: Statewide Poverty Action Network

Champion: Rep. Berry

Independent Living Lifeline (HB 1883)

Establish an Independent Living Lifeline for youth at risk and who have aged out can call for assistance.

Lead: NorthStar Advocates

Champion: Rep. Chopp

Compensate lived expertise on state advisory boards (SB 5793)

Ensure people with lived experience receive compensation for their expertise on state boards and advisory groups.

Lead: Attorney General's Office

Champion: Sen. Wilson

Budget Increases

Add $1.2 million to budget to expand availability of on-site behavioral health services in homeless youth shelters.

Add $450,000 to budget to strengthen the Homeless Student Stability Program.


Budget Champion: 
Rep. Callan