What is "Prudent Parenting?"
If you have been in the foster care and Washington state child welfare world for any length of time you’ve heard of the term “Prudent Parenting.” But what does it mean exactly?
In June of 2014 the Washington State Legislature passed a “Prudent Parenting” law (RCW 74.13.710) that allows caregivers of dependent children to grant or deny permission for a child to participate in “normal childhood activities” as long as they don’t exceed 72 hours duration.
These activities include play dates with friends, sleepovers, camping trips, youth retreats, riding with an adult on a jet ski or tractor, and any number of extracurricular and enrichment opportunities. Social workers, caregivers, and everyone else in the Child Welfare System could finally breathe a sigh of relief when this barrier of red tape was cut and we can all focus on more important matters.
Caregivers that have been thoroughly vetted by the state licensing department and/or private agencies through a home study process would now be allowed to make normal parental decisions for the children in their care without the permission of the state of Washington. Hooray! As a fellow foster parent in the state of Washington, I can assure you that the passage of this law was a godsend. No longer does a foster parent have to get permission for the normal things that the public has trusted them for; namely providing a fun and normal childhood for a kid that has been displaced.
This was a huge win for caregivers and foster children and is one less pain point to overcome. Let’s continue to fight for more common sense laws to be passed so that our children and families can thrive.