New State Agency: Department of Children, Youth, and Family

Diane Liebe, MD, FAAP
Chair, WCAAP Early Learning Committee

Washington State has a new cabinet-level agency which will be focused on the well-being of children.  The Department of Children, Youth, and Family (DCYF) was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee on July 6, 2017.  The mission of DCYF is to ensure that “Washington state’s children and youth grow up safe and healthy – thriving physically, emotionally, and academically, nurtured by family and community.”  Starting July 1, 2018, the Department of Early Learning (DEL) and its programs, such as Home Visiting and Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT), have rolled under the umbrella of DCYF, as have programs from the Children’s Administration in DSHS, such as Child Protective Services’ investigations and Family Assessment Response, licensed foster care, and adoption support.

Starting in July, 2019 programs offered by the Juvenile Rehabilitation division and Office of Juvenile Justice in DSHS will also join DCYF.  The hope is that with better collaboration between state and local agencies, tribes, and other organizations focused on children’s health and well-being, there will be an improvement in child outcomes, better attention to using data to inform and evaluate reforms, and improved support for families in building more resilient and healthy children.

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