Dave Reichert

Dave Reichert

WASHINGTON's 8th DISTRICT

Reichert Questions Inslee Administration's Foster Care Oversight

2014/10/27

Issaquah, WA – Friday, U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-8), Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources, sent a letter to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee inquiring about the effectiveness of the administration’s oversight of the state foster care system. The letter is intended to provide oversight on the use of goals and quality measures by the administration designed to ensure that Washington’s foster youth are receiving the best possible care.

The Human Resources Subcommittee oversees the nation’s foster care system. Reichert has served as its chair since the beginning of the 113th Congress and in that capacity has introduced and passed several pieces of legislation, including the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act (H.R. 4058), whose key provisions were signed into law as part of P.L. 113-183 in September.

The full text of Reichert’s letter to Governor Inslee is below.

_______________

Governor Jay Inslee

Office of the Governor

PO Box 40002

Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Dear Governor Inslee,

Protecting the young people of Washington has been one of my top goals throughout my career in public service, both as the Sheriff of King County and during my time in Congress. Because of this, and as the Chairman of the House committee with jurisdiction over the nation’s foster care system, I am concerned about recent changes your Administration made in how Washington’s foster care system sets goals and measures its performance.  I am writing to seek more information about these new goals and measurements in order to ensure that our State’s foster youth are receiving the best possible services .

This past July, your administration released the Children’s Administration Strategic Metrics Plan through the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).  This plan replaces the metrics and outcomes set forth in the Braam Settlement Agreement that expired in December 2013.  The Braam Settlement set tangible and ambitious goals that the foster care system was expected to achieve.  In contrast, your Administration’s plan appears to take a less comprehensive approach to monitoring and measuring the achievement of the foster care system, both by having fewer metrics as well as by setting lower expectations for system performance than was the case under the Braam Settlement.

In order to better understand your Administration’s motivation in making these changes, I respectfully request that you answer the following questions:

1. Why did your Administration oppose the extension of the Braam Settlement?

2. Why does your Administration’s plan not include 19 of the 21 metrics required under the Braam Settlement?  Please provide your rationale for not including each of these 19 excluded metrics.

3. For the Braam Settlement metrics your plan chose to retain (i.e. caseloads per caseworker and monthly health and safety visits), why does your plan set lower expectations for system performance than under the Braam Settlement?  For example, the Braam Settlement expected foster children to receive a private, individual face-to-face health and safety visit at least once per month.  In contrast, your plan fails to require that such visits be private, individual or face-to-face. Why?

4. Why does your plan focus on simply gathering data, as opposed to holding the foster care system accountable for achieving specific outcomes designed to better protect children?  For example, under the Braam Settlement, 90 percent of caseworkers were expected to have a caseload of 18 cases or fewer; under your Administration’s plan, the foster care system simply is expected to report the number of CPS workers with more than 25 cases.

5. Do you believe that a foster care evaluation model should include metrics that are “one-and-done” (with the responsibility of the State to measure outcomes expiring if the metric has been achieved even once), or should performance always be measured against key benchmarks, so that the program is always held accountable for achieving important goals and evaluation is always a part of program management? 

6. Why does your plan lack a timeframe for improvement by DSHS?

I believe that using metrics and holding a system like foster care accountable for achieving key goals is an important safeguard for children, and something that should be incorporated into ongoing program operation.    I look forward to receiving your responses to the questions above, and to working with you to ensure that our State’s foster youth are properly protected so they can grow up and become thriving, successful members  of our community.

Sincerely,

Dave Reichert

Chairman

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Reichert Statement on Marysville-Pilchuck High School Shooting

2014/10/24

Issaquah, WA – Rep. Reichert issued the following statement in response to today's events in Marysville: "It is with great sadness that I learned of today’s tragedy in Marysville. My thoughts and prayers go out to the staff, students, and families of Marysville-Pilchuck High School. I pray for a quick recovery for the injured students, and I mourn with the rest of our community for those who lost their lives today."

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Reichert Statement on Ebola Crisis

2014/10/17

Issaquah, WA – Rep. Reichert issued the following statement in response to the ongoing situation concerning the Ebola virus: "The ongoing Ebola crisis is one of great concern to us all. My thoughts are with the men and women taking up the task of caring for and working to provide treatment and supplies to those here at home as well as in widely-effected nations. This is not without a great deal of risk to their own health and livelihood, and I am impressed by the soldiers and healthcare workers involved in these efforts and their commitment to serving others. I continue to pray for all of those who have contracted the disease and hope for a complete and speedy recovery as well as effective treatment and containment of this virus. I stand ready with my colleagues to take whatever action is deemed most appropriate to end this outbreak abroad and prevent any further occurrences in the United States."

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Reichert Statement on Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2014

2014/10/08

"October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I have witnessed the effects of domestic violence time and time again. In 33 years of law enforcement it was sadly unavoidable and every time, domestic violence left behind devastation, broken families, and broken communities.  We will never be able to fully assess the damage done to men, women, and children by domestic violence, because it is not just physical, but affects every part of someone’s well-being.  To eradicate domestic violence, it will take a unified, nation-wide effort. Help is available, and I applaud all of those who have worked tirelessly for years to eradicate domestic violence. I also urge organizations and individuals to continue to provide support and assistance so that we can ensure victims will feel safe seeking help. I am committed to stamping out violence wherever it is found, and together, with an unwavering commitment to justice and helping others, we will keep our people safe."

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Reichert Awards "Angel in Adoption" Recognition to Susan Chung

2014/10/07

Issaquah, WA – Rep. Reichert presented Susan Chung, founder of the Korean Adoptee Family Foundation (KORAFF) with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) “Angel in Adoption” award.

Ms. Chung, a resident of Sammamish, has greatly given back to her community by helping families who have adopted Korean children understand their birth nation’s heritage and culture through the founding and running of KORAFF. KORAFF offers educational programs designed to encourage children to identify with their native cultures and serves as a valuable resource for both parents and children.

Reichert stated, “I was honored to nominate Ms. Chung for this recognition. Her dedication to service and to these families is undeniable and she is a leading light in the 8th District. Her love of and passion for her work is evident in everything she does, and I know the benefits endowed by KORAFF programs reach far beyond individuals, and enrich entire communities.”

Background

CCAI was created in 2001 by the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Coalition on Adoption to raide Congressional and public awareness about the issue of adoption.  The Angels in Adoption program began in 1999 as a Congressional press conference to recognizing individuals who were outstanding in this area.  The program has since developed and is now a yearlong awareness campaign that culminates in an awards ceremony and Gala celebration in Washington, D.C.

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Reichert Sex Trafficking Prevention Legislation Becomes Law

2014/10/02

Washington, D.C. – This week, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980) was signed into law by President Obama. This bipartisan legislation includes bills from Rep. Dave Reichert (WA-8) to prevent the sex trafficking of youth in foster care (H.R. 4058) and to ensure proper child support payments even when a parent lives abroad (H.R. 1896).

Reichert said, “This legislation becoming law is a victory for American children.  We have committed to protecting foster kids and we are responsible for their safety and success, yet for too long we have not lived up to that that promise. In 33 years of law enforcement, I saw all too often the tragic circumstances these children could end up in if not properly taken care of.  Now, this new law will help protect children from the horrors of sex trafficking and give them opportunities to lead more normal and successful lives.”

Real-life survivor and Rights4Girls Advocate "T" Ortiz Walker Pettigrew said, "The signing of H.R. 4980 into law is more than a dream come true. As an advocate pushing for the public to recognize these issues, it is with great admiration that I thank those who helped make this law a reality. It will help so many young people, families, and social systems tp practically address the issue of domestic trafficking of this country's already vulnerable populations. Many aspects of this law, including engaging young people as respected members of the planning team for their own lives, will make a world of difference in shaping successful outcomes. Sharing my story on a federal level has not been easy, but watching those of power take action to make a difference in the lives of others made it all worth it."

“At Treehouse, we are whole-heartedly committed to transforming the lives of kids in foster care by helping them experience a real childhood, and providing them the support that all kids need to graduate from high school with a plan for their future. We were thrilled to join Congressman Reichert in support of this important legislation to empower youth to participate in the planning of their transition from foster care. We as a community have a special responsibility to kids in care, and by enabling them to define their own course and develop the self-determination and problem-solving skills needed to be self-sufficient young adults, we are helping to build their future prospects and avoid tragic outcomes like sex trafficking,” stated Janis Avery, Treehouse CEO. 

“The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act will help ensure children in foster care find the permanent, loving families they deserve and promote adoptions from foster care. The legislation addresses sex trafficking of youth in foster care and demonstrates that Congress has made it a priority to protect the many children at risk of being trafficked every year in the United States. The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act will empower children and families by helping foster children lead normal lives, giving older foster youth more control over their future, and increasing the likelihood that children find permanent families rather than languishing in foster care," said First Focus Campaign for Children president Bruce Lesley. 

Jim Theofelis, Founder and Executive Director of the Mockingbird Society said, “At The Mockingbird Society, we work with young people to change policies and perceptions that stand in the way of every child having a safe, stable home. This legislation is an important step towards ensuring our government policies treat young people involved in sex trafficking as survivors instead of criminals, providing the support necessary to keep them out or get them out of dangerous situations. I want to thank Congressman Reichert for his leadership on this issue and for always welcoming the input of our young people.”

“We must do everything possible to ensure young people in the child welfare system who have also faced the horrors of trafficking are supported to heal and prepare for the future; we owe them that. Congressman Reichert’s leadership and support of this issue is critical,” said Dr. Melinda Giovengo, Executive Director of YouthCare, a Seattle-based organization providing essential services to runaway, homeless, and sexually exploited youth and young adults. “We see too many youth walk through our doors having had their childhoods stolen away. We know that youth on the run from care are incredibly vulnerable to sexual exploitation. We also know the future is still out ahead for each of them. We owe youth in young adults in this situation the opportunity to discover their potential and thrive in life. The improvements of HR 4980 will go a long way to keeping our community’s children safe and moving forward.”

The new law will specifically act to prevent sex trafficking by:

  • Requiring state child welfare agencies to identify, document, and determine appropriate services for children in foster care or who are otherwise involved in the child welfare system who are victims of child sex trafficking or at risk of becoming victims.
  • Requiring state child welfare agencies to promote "normalcy" for youth in foster care allowing them to more easily participate in age appropriate social, scholastic and enrichment activities.
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Reichert Named Champion for Children

2014/10/02

Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-8) was named a “Champion for Children” by the First Focus Campaign for Children. The award recognizes the top 100 members in Congress, both House and Senate, who consistently advocate for children.

After the announcement, Reichert said, “I am honored to be named a ‘Champion for Children’ this year. I have always believed, whether it was as Sheriff of King County during my 33 years in law enforcement, or as a member of Congress and chairman of the Human Resources Subcommittee, that it is my job and my privilege to fight for the most vulnerable, whoever they may be.  All too often it is America’s kids. They are the ones who will shape and lead the future, and I want to ensure that they receive the best possible support from us to be able to make wise choices, receive a high-quality education, enter a thriving and economically viable workforce, and succeed as adults.  Whether a foster child, an only child, or one of 7 like myself, every child deserves equal opportunities.”

Reichert is chairman of the Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee which oversees the country’s foster care system. He recently helped author H.R. 4980, a bill package that included critical reforms to help foster youth get into permanent homes and live happy, successful lives. It also included Reichert’s legislation to prevent the sex trafficking of youth in foster care. Additionally, Reichert is a founder and co-chair of the Children’s Health Care Caucus which works to promote policy that will result in better health outcomes for children across the nation.

The Champion for Children Award recognizes the members who have best “demonstrated extraordinary initiative” to “improve the health, educational outcomes, and well-being of children”, according to First Focus. To learn more, visit their website here.

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House Members Introduce OUTDOOR Act

2014/09/19

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Greg Walden, (R-OR), Jared Polis (D-CO), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), and Mike Thompson, (D-CA), introduced thebipartisan U.S. Optimal Use of Trade to Develop Outerwear and Outdoor Recreation (OUTDOOR) Act (H.R. 5646) to reduce tariffs on recreational performance apparel.  The legislation would make products like jackets and pants more affordable for American consumers, encourage participation in outdoor activities, and help designers and retailers of performance apparel better compete in the global economy. 

The Congressmen said, “The American Dream is built on the idea of exploration and economic success, and the OUTDOOR Act works to promote both of those concepts and make them a reality. From canoeing to mountain climbing, Americans have found ways to enjoy the outdoors in every season of the year, and outfitting them with innovative apparel is a major job-creating industry.  This legislation is a needed update to antiquated and unreasonably high tariffs set on recreational performance apparel, and more importantly it will help employers grow their businesses, remove a hidden tax on consumers, and continue to foster interest in America’s outdoor recreation.”

“I commend the Representatives and Senators Cantwell and Ayotte for coming together in a bipartisan effort to support the outdoor recreation industry, a vital part of the economy at the state and national level,” said OIA President and CEO Frank Hugelmeyer.  “The U.S. OUTDOOR Act will lower costs for outdoor businesses, fuel innovation, attract more consumers to get outdoors using high-quality, affordable apparel and will create more jobs in the United States.  We look forward to the enactment of this important legislation.”

BACKGROUND According to the Outdoor Industry Association, American consumers spend over $640 billion each year on outdoor recreation, in so doing supporting an industry that is directly and indirectly tied to 12 million American jobs. H.R. 5646 creates new Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) breakouts for both knit and woven recreational performance outerwear and changes tariff rates for these clothing items to duty-free, thereby eliminating the “hidden tax” on these goods. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

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House Members Introduce Teacher Tax Relief Act

2014/09/18

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Representatives Dave Reichert, Jim McDermott, Aaron Schock, Ron Kind, Pat Tiberi, and Bill Pascrell introduced the Teacher Tax Relief Act, H.R. 5504, to make permanent the deduction allowed for teachers who purchase classroom supplies out of pocket and expands the deduction to the include professional development expenses.

“Too often teachers spend their own hard-earned money in order to provide their students with basic school supplies,” said the Representatives. “Our bill will alleviate some of the financial burden placed on today’s teachers while also making a significant investment in the education and the futures of America’s children. This bipartisan legislation will allow teachers to expand their knowledge, keep skills current, and equip themselves and their students for success.”

Director of NEA Government Relations Mary Kusler said, “Educators nationwide who work to create successful learning environments for all of their students appreciate the leadership and support of the bipartisan sponsors of this bill.  In recent years, educators have spent $1.6 billion of their own money to ensure their students have basic supplies and instructional materials that help them meet their goals. Providing educators with a modest tax deduction that will now keep pace with inflation, is an important recognition of educators’ daily sacrifices on behalf of the students they serve.”

BACKGROUND Every year educators across the country foot the bill for basic classroom supplies out of dedication to teaching and to their students.  In fact, the National School Supply and Equipment Association found that for the 2005-2006 school year educators spent out of their own pockets an average of $826 for supplies and $926 for instructional materials – for a total of $1,752.

Additionally, teacher quality is critical to maximize student achievement, as highly qualified teachers will enable students to meet high standards. Continued professional development is one vital way that teachers keep their skills and knowledge current, and best equip themselves to prepare students for college and the challenges of the 21st Century global workplace. Expanding the tax deduction to cover qualified continuing education pursuits further assures the success of our teachers and our children.  The legislation is written to adjust for inflation so that the deduction keeps pace with the growing cost to teachers.

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Reichert Statement on Voting Yes to Fight ISIL and Fund the Government

2014/09/17

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-8) issued the following statement after today's House votes on training Syrian rebels and keeping the government open:

“Today, I voted with my House colleagues to give President Obama the authority to train and equip vetted Syrian rebels who are actively fighting against ISIL. This authorization comes with strict oversight and a requirement for consistent reporting on progress to ensure the Administration communicates properly with Congress and the American people. All of this is a step towards developing a real and complete strategy that will eliminate ISIL as a threat.

“This amendment was part of the larger Continuing Resolution (CR) which the House passed this evening to continue funding the government through December 11, 2014. Included in that funding was language that extended the operating authority of the Export-Import Bank through the middle of next year. As a critical resource for many Washington companies, from our manufacturers to our wineries, this will give us time to come together and develop a long term plan that will ensure the continued success of Washington businesses, farmers and workers.”

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Contact Information

1127 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-7761
Fax 202-225-4282
reichert.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Ways and Means

Congressman Dave Reichert brings over 40 years of public service experience to Washington. Reichert is serving his fifth term as the Representative from the Eighth Congressional District of Washington.

Congressman Reichert serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, with appointments to two subcommittees: Trade and Human Resources, of which he is Chairman.

Reichert has a remarkable record of service. Decisive leadership, integrity and tireless dedication are his hallmarks. From 1971 through 1976, Reichert was a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve. In 1972 Reichert joined the King County Sheriff’s Office and in 1997 he became the first elected sheriff in 30 years. Under his leadership, the county saw a significant drop in violent crime. Reichert brought national recognition to the Sheriff’s Office as head of the Green River Task Force solving the largest serial murder case in U.S. history. As Sheriff, Reichert also brought an unprecedented $28 million in federal funding to King County law enforcement efforts.

Sheriff Reichert established himself as a leading voice against domestic violence and an advocate of strong family values. In 2004 Reichert received the prestigious National Sheriffs’ Association’s “Sheriff of the Year” award. He is a two-time Medal of Valor Award recipient from the King County Sheriff’s Office and was honored with Washington Policy Center’s Champion of Freedom Award. Reichert received the Families Northwest Public Policy Award and took top honors in a local television network’s (King 5) leadership poll.

Reichert served as president of the Washington State Sheriffs’ Association and an executive board member of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. He has served on numerous advisory boards including the King County Criminal Justice Council and the King County Domestic Violence Council. Reichert co-chaired the Washington State Partners in Crisis, a statewide coalition targeting issues related to mental health. Reichert also was a leader in the fight against Meth in Washington State by implementing annual Statewide Conferences, State Meth Action Teams, and was co-chair of the KC Meth Coalition. As Sheriff, he was also a member of the KC Committee to End Homelessness. He currently serves as a member of the Special Olympics of Washington State Board of Directors.

Dave Reichert was born in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, in 1950, the oldest of seven children and grandson of the town marshal. His family moved to Washington State in 1951, living first in Renton and later in Kent, where Reichert attended Kent Meridian High School. He graduated with an A.A. degree from Concordia Lutheran College in Portland, Oregon, where he played football and met his wife of 42 years, Julie. The Reicherts currently live in Auburn and have three grown children, Angela, Tabitha and Daniel, and six grandchildren.


Serving With

Jaime Herrera Beutler

WASHINGTON's 3rd DISTRICT

Doc Hastings

WASHINGTON's 4th DISTRICT

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

WASHINGTON's 5th DISTRICT

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