Children & Youth Project


The Children & Youth Project (CYP) works to improve opportunities for Washington’s children and youth to have safe and stable families and homes, quality education, health care, and economic stability.

CYP has prioritized its advocacy and is focusing its resources in five main areas that affect tens of thousands of children and youth in Washington State:
     ◘   Improving the Conditions of Foster Care
     ◘   Youth Homelessness
     ◘   Access to Education
     ◘   Immigrant Youth
     ◘   Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Justice Involvement

New Resource:

Recent CYP Developments
- Immigrant Youth in Crisis Report
- What does the Homeless Student Stability and Opportunity Gap Act do?
- State Legislature Takes Big Step Toward Supporting Washington's Student Homeless Population
- CLS Urges Fed Gov’t to Follow Law and Require State to Lead Test WA’s Medicaid Children
- Student Homelessness Across Washington State Increase 9%
- Falling through the Gaps: How a stay in detention can lead to youth homelessness
- Historic Washington Supreme Court Decision Impacts Juvenile Justice


CYP is working to improve the lives of the state’s 10,000 foster children and youth. This work includes: addressing inadequate conditions of foster care, largely through the Braam v. Washington class action settlement; addressing services and programs related to aging out of foster care and extended foster care; and access to competent legal counsel for foster children.

Braam v. Washington
Braam is a class action case started in 1998 on behalf of the State’s foster children. In 2014, CYP litigated an extension of the existing settlement agreement, resulting in an order by Judge Charles Snyder of the Whatcom County Superior Court for the State to finish the job of reforming the foster care system as it had promised to do in the 2011 Revised Settlement and Exit Agreement. For more information, click here.

  • Braam Budget Update: Last year, Children’s Administration identified the need for 63 FTEs to address Braam compliance. They received funding for only 21 FTEs. This year, they have requested the additional 42 FTEs that were not previously funded. CLS has requested the Governor fully include the items identified by Children’s Administration as related to Braam  in his 2016 Supplemental Budget request. For more information, click here.

Extended Foster Care
A CYP priority has been the adoption and implementation of an Extended Foster Care program in Washington State.  For more information on Washington’s program, click here.

Foster Children's Right to Counsel
CYP continues to advocate for the right of all foster children to have meaningful legal representation in dependency hearings.


CYP is working to improve the situations of thousands of unaccompanied youth and young adults living in homelessness. This work includes ensuring timely access to basic needs faced by homeless youth involved in the juvenile justice, child welfare, and status offense systems. Our work includes providing legal information through the homeless youth manual, developing promising practices for preventing youth homelessness, and legislative advocacy to improve outcomes for homeless youth.

Promising PracticesPromising Practices for Preventing
Youth & Young Adult Homelessness

CYP Resources Around Youth & Young Adult Homelessness:
- Homeless Youth and Young Adults: Legal Services Organizations in Washington
- Promising Practices for Preventing Youth and Young Adult Homelessness
- Unaccompanied Youth  in Washington
- Falling through the Gaps: How a stay in detention can lead to youth homelessness

Homeless Youth Handbook

CYP advocates worked with volunteers from the Starbucks Coffee Company and Baker & McKenzie, as well as many public interest law experts, to create the Homeless Youth Handbook: Legal Issues and Options for youth and those who serve youth in Washington State to help understand legal rights and options in many different areas of law.  You can also download the 2016 Homeless Youth Handbook which include changes in the law that occured through July 2016.


CYP is working to improve the education and reduce homelessness of more than 30,000 students who
have no place to call home. This work includes improving
the identification of students experiencing homelessness
and removing barriers to their enrollment and retention in
public schools; improving collaborations between schools
and housing providers to prevent or shorten homelessness; and legislative efforts to improve the lives of these youth.  


CYP Resources Around Access to Education
- Homeless Student Stability Act Presentation before House Community Development
  Housing & Tribal Affairs Committeee

- Homeless Student Stability Act One-Pager
- Who are Washington's Homeless Children and Youth?
- Student Homelessness What We Know
- McCleary Amicus Brief
- Unaccompanied Youth One Pager
- 2014 Media Release - Analysis of Student Homelessness
- School House Washington


Identifying and eliminating barriers that immigrant children and youth face as a result of their lack of legal status, their parent’s lack of legal status, being unaccompanied, or being recent immigrants suffering from disadvantaged circumstances.

CYP Resources Concerning Immigrant Youth
- Immigrant Youth in Crisis Report
- Quick Guide: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) & Washington State Proceedings (updated July 2015)
- Undocumented Youth & Family Law Proceedings, King County Bar Association Presentation
- Washington Pattern Court Form for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
- Determination of Residency for Tuition and Other Purposes for Students in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) Status


Reducing public access to juvenile records and eliminating barriers to housing, education, employment and other systems caused by clients having a juvenile criminal record. Here you can find information about the 2014 Youth Opportunities Act (HB 1651), 2015 Youth Equality and Reintegration Act ("YEAR" Act) (SB 5564) and other pending advocacy.  Click here to download the FAQ on the Youth Opportunities Act and FAQ on the YEAR Act.