new law: HB 1194

HB 1194 Impacts on Family Time Visitation

July 29, 2021 – https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/news/hb-1194-impacts-family-time-visitation

HB 1194 Impacts on Family Time Visitation

Family Time visitation is critical to strengthening and preserving the family bond and achieving successful reunification.

During the 2021 Legislative Session, the Legislature passed HB 1194, which addresses visitation (Family Time). HB 1194 becomes effective on July 25, 2021, and requires the following:

  • An initial (family time) visit must occur within 72 hours of the removal of a child unless the court finds that extraordinary circumstances require a delay. This visit must be supervised unless the department determines supervision is not necessary.

This requirement is in line with DCYF’s policy that an initial visit be held within 72 hours. However, HB 1194 has made this policy a law, meaning we are subject to contempt if we fail to meet these requirements. The new law’s timeframe does not exclude weekends or holidays.

HB 1194 will also require:

  • Visitation becomes unsupervised at 30-day shelter care hearings, orders authorizing continued shelter care, review hearings, and permanency hearings unless DCYF provides a report to the court that includes evidence establishing that removing visit supervision or monitoring would create a risk to the child’s safety and the court determines that visit supervision must occur.

We want to stress that child safety is our number one priority. Our goal is for children and youth to reunify with their families when it is safe, and they have the resources and support they need to succeed.

We encourage you to review the FAQ document.

The Alliance currently offers the following trainings for caregivers about Family Time, and a new facilitated discussion group focused on partnership:

  • Supportive Facilitated Discussion Group: Fostering as Part of a Team
  • Caregiver’s Responsibility in Supporting Family Time
  • Understanding Family Time Supervision for Caregivers

If you have a question about visitation, please talk with your caseworker.