WHEREAS, the children's services system in Washington state must be committed to implementing and maintaining effective accountability mechanisms; and

WHEREAS, child welfare experts in Washington state concur on the specific changes needed for improved accountability; and

WHEREAS, accountability in the children's services system can be enhanced by informing the public on key performance measures; and

WHEREAS, an annual report card on the performance of the children's services system also can improve outcomes for children and their families; and

WHEREAS, the state's accountability for the health and safety of children under it's protection and in it's care can be enhanced by careful review and ongoing monitoring; and

WHEREAS, decision-making for children under the state's protection or in it's care should not be done in isolation and should be reviewed on a regular basis; and

WHEREAS, accountability in the children's services system can be enhanced through systematic use of teams for key decision-making; and

WHEREAS, current law does not require shared decision-making in the provision of services to children,

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mike Lowry, Governor of the State of Washington, by virtue of the power vested in me, do hereby order the following:

1. Beginning on July 1, 1997, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) shall prepare an annual quality assurance report card which shall include but is not limited to: performance outcomes regarding health and safety of children in the children's services system; children's length of stay in out-of-home placement, adherence to permanency planning timelines, and; the response time on CPS investigations.

2. DSHS shall designate and maintain at least one group home monitor in each DSHS region whose responsibility shall be to monitor the health, safety and planning for children in group care.

3. DSHS shall implement and maintain a systematic shared-decision making process for key decisions affecting children's health, safety and welfare. This process shall clarify employees' roles and decision making responsibilities throughout the chain of command so that individual roles and responsibilities are focused and clear. The Department shall monitor the implementation of shared decision-making.

4. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set
my hand and caused the seal of the State of
Washington to be affixed at Olympia this
11th day of January A.D., Nineteen hundred and ninety-six.

Mike Lowry
Governor of Washington


Secretary of State