Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Thursday to restructure how the state serves at-risk children and youth by creating the Department of Children, Youth and Families. The governor also appointed Ross Hunter, director of the state’s Department of Early Learning, to lead DCYF.
The new agency, after a yearlong transition period that begins this month, will oversee several services now offered through the state Department of Social and Health Services and the Department of Early Learning. These include all programs from the Children’s Administration in DSHS such as Child Protective Services, the Family Assessment Response program and adoption support, as well as all DEL services, including the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program for preschoolers and Working Connections Child Care.
Starting in July 2019, the new department also will administer programs offered by the Juvenile Rehabilitation office and the Office of Juvenile Justice in DSHS. Those programs include juvenile rehabilitation institutions, community facilities and parole services.
The creation of the new department follows the suggestions of the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on the Delivery of Services to Children and Families convened by the governor in February 2016 to recommend a state system that focuses more clearly on preventing harm to children and youth.
Washington’s Legislature expressed interest in restructuring during the 2016 legislative session, prompting the governor to issue the executive order creating the blue ribbon commission, of which Hunter was a member.
Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.