Coming Into the Light: An Examination of Restraint and Isolation Practices in Washington Schools is a recent report published by ACLU of Washington and Disability Rights Washington (DRW) detailing findings that school districts throughout Washington State frequently utilize restraint and isolation tactics as disciplinary practices. The report identifies Black students, students with disabilities, and students in foster care as demographics disproportionately affected by these practices. State law says that incidents of restraint are permitted only in the event of an emergency in which the student is at imminent risk of inflicting serious physical harm to themselves or to another student, while isolation is banned entirely. While, according to the report, incidents of restraint and isolation remain prevalent throughout the state, lawyer Andrea Kadlec says there is misunderstanding around what exactly constitutes restraint and isolation.
On Saturday, April 16, 2022, Rowhouse International and Nomad Boxing Club combined forces to present the first annual Bumblebee Memorial Boxing Showcase, held at Washington Hall. A packed crowd attended the event to watch as amateur fighters from throughout the PNW came to put their fists together in support of foster kids. Additionally, the event included a partnership with Treehouse to promote its work advocating for youth in foster care as well as to raise money for the organization.
With National Foster Care Month here, the State Legislature recently awarded $10.6 million in stipends for young Washingtonians exiting the Extended Foster Care (EFC) program. The goal of the stipends is to assist youth with their transition to adulthood by increasing housing stability and securing access to essential resources such as food, transportation, and utilities.
Nomad Boxing Club and Rowhouse International have come together to provide an afternoon of community building and entertainment to honor the late Willie Briscoray, known as Coach Bumblebee. The first annual Bumblebee Memorial Boxing Showcase will take place on Saturday, April 16, 2022, 2–6 p.m. at Washington Hall. The event aims to continue the work of Coach Bumblee, who mentored young fighters during his lifetime by working to promote the work done by Treehouse, an organization whose mission is to create “a world where every child that has experienced foster care has the opportunities and support they need to pursue their dreams and launch successfully into adulthood.”
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(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
In July, a new state law took effect that will guarantee legal representation for children facing dependency hearings, in which a judge considers whether they should remain with their family or go to foster care. For more than a decade, Washington lagged behind much of the rest of the country in expanding children’s access to attorneys during foster care cases, so when the State Legislature passed the law in April, most children’s rights advocates across Washington lauded the change as a step in the right direction.
Access to an attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of foster care cases. A study conducted between 2017 and 2019 by Washington’s Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA), which provides financial support to low-income Washington residents in civil cases, found that children represented by attorneys in dependency cases are much more likely to reunite with their families. The study found that having a lawyer made an especially notable difference for older children and Kids of Color, who are also the least likely to be adopted if left in foster care.