Transforming our country’s child welfare system

In 1899, our founder Rev. Harrison D. Brown wrote the first child welfare law in Washington state. This legacy of advocating for our children and families continues today as we work alongside policymakers in finding new solutions that improve the lives of children in Washington state and beyond.

We are excited to join with many others in applauding Congress for supporting the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) that aims to keep more families together. Thanks to this landmark national legislation, we are seeing a long-awaited transformation for our nation’s and individual states’ public child welfare systems.

The act was signed into law this past year to provide prevention services to families who are at risk of entering the public child welfare system. It also puts limits on placing children in institutional settings such as group homes while seeking to improve the well-being of children already in foster care.

As child care practitioners and advocates, we know and agree with research that clearly demonstrates that trauma in the first few years of a child’s life can derail healthy development for years to come. Children have the best chance to thrive if efforts are made to keep children with their families.

As CHSW’s continued focus is on prevention, FFPSA is in line with our ultimate goal of helping families earlier and getting ahead of problems before they occur in the home.

FFPSA and the launch of the state’s new Department for Children, Youth and Families last month are strong building blocks in the support system giving young children, who are otherwise likely to struggle in kindergarten and throughout school, what they need to be successful.

We celebrate this momentous time in our history with you as we continue to make children’s lives the best they can be for stronger communities that benefit all of us.

Sharon Osborne is the president/CEO of Children's Home Society of Washington and Children's Home Society & Trust Foundation.