- Strengthen our system response to youth and families in crisis (SB5470/HB1657) by increasing emergency shelter beds for minors statewide, expanding eligibility for street outreach to age 24, and enabling youth to stay in shelters under a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) petition. Homeless teens in our state often fall through the cracks due to limited supports for families experiencing crisis and legal barriers that prohibit extended shelter stays.
- Exempt minors from charges of prostitution (SB5744/HB1775) and create two therapeutic receiving centers for sexually exploited youth so they are treated as victims of trafficking and not as criminals. Changing the statute would ensure a victim-centered and trauma-informed response. It would bring Washington in line with other states as well as in compliance with federal law.
- Eliminate detention for status offenses through the valid court order exception (VCO) (SB5290/HB1434) to reduce the rate of incarcerated youth and expand supports for youth and families in crisis. Washington leads the nation in detaining youth for status offenses. Studies have found that juvenile detention correlates with negative outcomes such as higher dropout rates, higher rates of recidivism, and lowered economic opportunity.
- Invest $200 million in the Housing Trust Fund in the Capital Budget to address the crisis of homelessness and shortage of affordable housing in our state. The Housing Trust Fund is Washington’s most effective tool for preserving and constructing affordable housing options across the state.
- Support the Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy (WACHYA) legislative priorities.
- Pass new progressive revenue to support the full continuum of human services.