Governor signs DeBolt’s tribal child placement bill

A bill sponsored by Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, to help ensure tribal children placed in out-of-home care are put in a safe environment was signed into law today by Gov. Jay Inslee. House Bill 2694 allows agencies of federally recognized tribes to request a name-based criminal background check for an emergency placement of a child.

“I am glad to see this bill become a law,” said DeBolt, R-Chehalis, “Tribal agencies will now have the law enforcement tools they need to make sure children in these types of situations are placed in good homes.”

In Washington state, a tribe can enter into an agreement with the Washington State Patrol to submit fingerprint background checks. However, state law does not allow agencies of federally recognized tribes to have access to name-based criminal background checks. Without this information at the time of placement, instead of being temporarily put in the home of a neighbor, friend, or relative, tribal children could be placed in a home off the reservation for several days or longer.

DeBolt’s bill will give tribes access to state criminal databases enabling them to retrieve the information they need to keep countless children safe, as well as promote family and cultural preservation.

House Bill 2694 passed the House 93-3 the Senate 48-0 before being signed into law by the governor. It will go into effect later this year.

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Washington State House Republican Communications