Make Washington a Safe Harbor for trafficked youth (SB5744/HB1775)
Exempt minors from charges of prostitution and create therapeutic receiving centers so sexually exploited youth are treated as victims of trafficking and not as criminals. Changing the statute would bring Washington in line with thirty-one other states and in accordance with the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Help homeless youth obtain state identification cards
Reduce state ID documentation requirements and cost barriers for young people experiencing homelessness. Obtaining identification cards can be particularly challenging for homeless youth and creates barriers to getting a job, renting an apartment, or traveling outside the state.
- Watch Kathryn talk about the issue.
Implement alternatives to detention for status offenses
Improve and expand community-based family reconciliation services, increase short and long-term placements for dependent youth with behavioral health needs, and enhance services at Crisis Residential Centers/Hope Centers. Last year, the legislature made bold progress by eliminating the use of detention for status offenses; the state must now invest in therapeutic alternatives to ensure young people receive the supports they need.
- Watch Melinda talk about this issue.
Create long-term beds for teens experiencing homelessness
End the cycle of instability for homeless adolescents in Washington State. Over one-quarter of youth staying in YouthCare’s emergency shelters “shelter hop” every two months because there are no long-term beds and youth have no alternative places to go ($1 million budget request).
- Watch Danee talk about this issue.
Expand funding for pre-apprenticeship programs
Implement an equitable workforce development infrastructure by investing in pre-apprenticeship programs like YouthCare’s YouthBuild, so youth at highest risk of homelessness, incarceration, and poverty are provided the opportunity, access, and skills to benefit from our thriving economy ($1.5 million budget request).
- Read the one-pager.
- Watch Holly talk about this issue.
- Fund additional staff in the DCYF background check unit to mitigate clearance delays and prevent de facto discrimination against people with criminal records.
- Pass new progressive revenue, including a capital gains tax.
- Invest $10 million in the Housing Trust Fund to preserve our affordable housing stock.
- Support the Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy (WACHYA) legislative priorities.