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Advocates Discuss State of Washington State's Foster Care System with Lawmakers

Jeanie Lindsay
Northwest News Network
The Early Learning & Human Services Committee asked panelists what changes they thought would be helpful to the state's child welfare system.

Advocates for foster children shared concerns with lawmakers in Olympia Friday, with hopes for new policy around child welfare systems in Washington.

Dolores Cantu is a social services specialist from Sunnyside. She told the House Early Learning & Human Services Committee she and her colleagues could use better training.

“It’s quite frustrating because the training that’s typically offered to social workers is internal,” Cantu said.

She said that means they’re not really exposed to new ideas from outside the system.

Other concerns included impossible workloads and high turnover rates among caseworkers, that can create a sense of instability for kids.

Shrounda Selivanof is a mom who needed treatment for her addiction in order to reunite with her daughter. She found the process of finding that treatment murky.

“I think that there were so many opportunities to kind of shed light,” Selivanof said. “And I think that sometimes social workers don’t understand that we don’t understand the system. At all.”

She felt like she was on her own.

The Early Learning & Human Services Committee reconvenes next week.