Our current situation: Something is not right when it is now illegal for parents to take their children to a tanning salon so they don’t get sunburned on vacation, but their child can have an abortion without the parents being notified. At the same time, even after a child has been in foster care for over a year and the birth parents have made absolutely no effort to reunite with them, it may be a couple of years longer before the children are released for adoption into a stable, loving home. A proper protection of parents’ rights is essential to maintaining strong, healthy families.
My solution: I support parents’ rights over governments’ regarding the safety and education of their children. However, because I recognize there are some situations where it is clear that the birth parents will never take responsibility for their children, I introduced legislation to allow children in specific situations to be adopted more quickly, and am committed to continue to work on this issue.
Our current situation: Washington State is facing a shortage of foster parents, as many are frustrated with a system that doesn’t seem to value their help. DSHS worker turnover is very high as they get burned out with heavy caseloads, resulting in lower experienced staff who don’t have the solutions the foster children need.
My solution: I recently passed legislation to make sure foster parents are notified about court dates regarding their foster children, so the courts get the valuable input these foster parents can provide. Rather than the government worker boss/foster parent employee type relationship which creates problems for both, I am working on how we can best get foster parents and DSHS workers to be teammates in the care of these foster children and avoid burnout.