The Vulnerable Youth Guardianship Program

Advocates from our Children and Youth Project are pushing for the protection of our most vulnerable children and teenagers through the Vulnerable Youth Guardianship Program bills, being heard in both the House and Senate. Under HB 1988 and SB 5559, state courts are able to establish a vulnerable youth guardianship for youth who are 18 or older, but not yet 21, at the youth’s consent. The youth must have been abandoned, abused or neglected by a parent, and consent to the appointment of a guardian. This guardian is able to provide the youth with stable housing and care for the youth’s basic needs, taking burden off the youth as they work through the challenges that come with their vulnerable situations.

This bill is particularly necessary in light of the vulnerability of unaccompanied youth. Abandoned, abused or neglected youth are more susceptible to human trafficking and other harms. They also have a need for a relationship with a responsible adult as they adjust to a new cultural context, language, and education system, and recover from the trauma of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. These arrangements promote permanency and the long-term well-being of immigrant children present in the United States who have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment. The Washington State Task Force Against the Trafficking of Persons has recommended the passage of this bill.

Get Engaged:

SB 5559 is currently before the Senate Human Services, Mental Health, and Housing Committee. Read the bill.

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Committee Members (Find out who your representative is):

HB 1988 is currently before the House Judiciary Committee. Read the bill

Committee Members (Find out who your representative is):