WA bill to end parenting fees for incarcerated children signed into law | Local

A bill that ends the practice of “parent payment” – where parents of incarcerated children must pay a portion of the cost of their incarceration – was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday.

House Bill 2050 repealed the state’s Parental Pay Act, a 45-year-old practice that advocates have described as a legal relic. By law, parents were required to contribute a certain percentage of their gross income to DCYF Juvenile Rehabilitation to cover the cost of the child’s incarceration.

The Washington Legislature passed with bipartisan support, according to officials from the state Department of Children, Youth and Families.

The bill also repealed parent fees for incarcerated children at the county level and canceled more than $1 million in debt for more than 200 families statewide, according to a legislative summary by Virginia Barry, policy and government affairs manager for Stand for Children Washington.

The DCYF lobbied for passage of the bill with support from advocacy groups including Stand for Children Washington and the Center for Children and Youth Justice.

The practice of parent pay has disproportionately affected families of color and low-income families. He raises about $1 million each year for the department, DCYF Director of Government Affairs and Community Engagement Allison Krutsinger previously told the Yakima Herald-Republic.

“DCYF has worked to eliminate practices that are harmful to children and their families, and in particular financially stupid practices…We are delighted that the legislature has repealed it.” DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter said in a department press release.

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