The welfare of our children is our prime responsibility. Kids in vulnerable situations, from foster care to homeless youth to the juvenile justice system, need vocal advocates and champions to ensure that they too have every opportunity to succeed in school and their future careers.

Foster Care

As a former foster parent, Noel understands firsthand the trials and triumphs that come with being part of a foster family.  At a time when our state lacks enough foster families to meet the demand, we as a state need to step up to provide the tools, support, and resources these families need to help foster kids thrive. 

Noel supported:

  • HB 1251 – Providing dependent children with access to legal counsel. (PRIME SPONSOR, PASSED as an amendment to SB 5890)
  • HB 1628 – Concerning the educational success of youth in foster care (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED as SB 5241)
  • HB 1808 – Providing support for foster youth in obtaining drivers’ licenses and automobile liability insurance (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED)
  • HB 2330 – Allowing young adults to come in and out of extended foster care an unlimited number of times until their 21st birthday (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED as SB 6222)

What’s next?

There is still more work to be done. Assuming a successful demonstration project for legal counsel for kids in foster care, I plan to introduce legislation to expand the program to all 39 counties.

Vulnerable Youth

We must promote the well-being of all youth, taking extra care to our vulnerable youth populations. It is critical that we fund social services that focus on young people and provide them with the resources they need to succeed and live healthy lives. LGBTQ+ kids are over-represented in state child welfare systems, particularly foster care, because of strife at home and the lack of acceptance of a child’s sexual orientation or identity. Many of our kids in foster care and the juvenile justice system exit into homelessness, where they become incredibly vulnerable to those who would do them harm.

Noel supported:

  • HB 1816 – Homeless youth information sharing (PRIME-SPONSOR, PASSED)
  • HB 1630 – Allowing minors to consent to share their personally identifying information in the WA homeless client management information system (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED)
  • HB 2857– Concerning therapeutic responses to commercially sexually exploited youth (CO-SPONSOR)

What’s next?

Next session Noel intends to do more to protect vulnerable youth, especially LGBTQ+ children, and young adults, by making sure that we have shelters and programs that are staffed with culturally competent, trained professionals who will create safe transitional homes for these young people.

Juvenile Justice

Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes those mistakes can land children and youth in our juvenile justice system. I am committed to ensuring that the kids who find themselves in trouble have every opportunity for rehabilitation and successful re-entry into society.  Additionally, I believe we need to focus on ending the stark disparities faced by youth of color in our justice system and will work tirelessly to reform our system to give all kids a fair shot at a future.

Noel supported:

What’s next?

Noel will continue working to ensure we provide parity to youth currently incarcerated and convicted as adults under the old system of auto-decline that SB 6160 overturned, allowing them to also stay in juvenile rehabilitation facilities until the age of 25.