Lawsuit: Agreement means more funds for foster children

SEATTLE (AP) — The state of Washington and a foster parents group has reached an agreement in a federal lawsuit to provide about $8.5 million per year to cover the care of foster children.

Mike Canfield, co-president of Foster Parents Association of Washington State, says they filed the lawsuit because the state was only paying 40 to 60 percent of the costs of foster care, which led to a shortage of foster parents. Without those parents, some foster children were forced to live in hotels or 24-hour day care centers.

Canfield says the two sides agreed on a formula to calculate the costs of foster care and submitted a settlement to the judge this week. The Department of Social and Health Services has submitted a budget request to the Legislature to cover those costs. Gov. Jay Inslee included the money in his budget.

The next step will be to secure legislative approval.