Olympia … Sen. Pam Roach (R- rural Auburn) has introduced two pieces of legislation regarding child welfare and the Child Protective Services.
Both bills will receive a public hearing on Thursday, January 21st at 3:30PM in the Human Services and Corrections Committee in Senate Hearing Room 1.
SB 6416, the Alexis Stuth Act, would give certain grandparents and relatives legal standing in child welfare cases where a parent has been declared unfit to parent the child.
SB 6417 would create a legal presumption that placement with relatives, in dependency cases, is in the best interests of the child.
This legislation was introduced in response to the Stuth case, which received statewide media attention. Doug and Anne Marie Stuth from Enumclaw had essentially raised their granddaughter Alexis until she was taken out of their care and put into foster care by DSHS. The Stuths did not have legal standing to defend themselves or their granddaughter. After months of heartache, Alexis was finally placed back with the Stuths and they have since adopted her.
“The Stuth case shows how crucial this legislation is,” said Roach. “We must place children with caring relatives first and we must give relatives who have been caring for a child that is stuck in the system a say in any placement decisions.”
Senator Roach has been a strong advocate for accountability in child welfare cases and within the Department of Social and Health Services.