SB 6095 addresses the placement of a child with a relative or other suitable person before a fingerprint-based background check is completed.
In the case that a relative or other suitable person appears otherwise suitable and competent to provide care and treatment, the fingerprint-based background check need not be completed before placement, but as soon as possible after placement. The department must not automatically disqualify a relative or other suitable person based upon standards that are more extensive than guidelines provided by the federal government in the adoption and safe families act of 1997.
Additionally, the state and its officers, agents, and employees may not be held criminally or civilly liable for a placement decision unless the state or its officers, agents, and employees acted with reckless disregard.
Substitute bill: As amended the bill includes language stating that a person licensed or employed in a position which provides care and treatment to vulnerable adults, children, persons with mental illness, or persons with developmental disabilities must not be disqualified for licensure or employment based upon a crime or negative action if the crime or negative action was reviewed by DSHS through its Background Assessment Review Team process in 2002 and the person was permitted to remain in the position of licensure or employment. DSHS and DOH must not automatically disqualify a person for licensure or employment based upon a crime or disposition that has been the subject of a pardon, annulment, or other equivalent procedure.
Early Learing and Human Services Amendment: The striking amendment makes changes to the underlying bill. Specifically, the amendment removes the ability for DSHS to place a child in the care of a relative or other suitable person after a dependency fact-finding if fingerprint-based background checks have not yet been completed; however, the ability for DSHS to place with those individuals at shelter care remains.
The amendment specifies that if an agency that contracts with the Children's Administration chooses to hire an individual who would be precluded from employment with DSHS because of a crime or negative action, DSHS has no liability from injury or harm attributable to that individual.
The amendment also replaces the Secretary's list of crimes and negative actions with the categories of crimes provided in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 as the actions for which DSHS may deny or delay a license or approval of unsupervised access to children.
Lastly, the amendment specifies that DSHS may also deny or delay a license or approval of unsupervised access to children based on records revealed by a background check that relate to child safety, permanence, or well-being.