The Washington legislature has passed a “shield bill” that, if signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, D, as expected, would permit shelters and “host homes” to keep in their care those children who want to access “gender-affirming care” or “reproductive health care services” without receiving consent from parents — or even letting them know.
The House passed the bill on April 12, sending it back to the Senate for concurrence. SB 5599 decrees that shelters for homeless or runaway children are not required to contact the child’s parents if the child is seeking “protected health services.”
The legislation also allows “host homes,” which the legislation defines as a “private home that volunteers to host youth in need of temporary placement that is associated with a host home program,” to keep children in the house without notifying their parents.
According to the legislation, “protected health services” are gender-affirming treatment or reproductive health care services.
Ordinarily any person or group that is housing a minor that has run away from their parents must notify the parent “within seventy-two hours, but preferably within twenty-four hours.”
However, they don’t have to notify the parent if there is a compelling reason that they shouldn’t. Prior to SB 5599, the only compelling reason listed was if notifying the parent would lead to the parent abusing or neglecting the youth.
The bill passed by the Washington House of Representatives, however, added “seeking or receiving protected health care services,” defined as gender-affirming treatments or abortion, as a second compelling reason for why a shelter or host home can hide a child from his or her parent.
Instead of notifying parents if the youth is seeking an abortion or gender-affirming treatment, the host home or youth organization must instead notify the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) within 72 hours of the minor’s participation in the program. DCYF is then obligated to offer to make referrals for behavioral health services, as well as to “offer services designed to resolve the conflict and accomplish a reunification of the family.”
State Senate Republican Leader John Braun said the bill helps children “game the system” and take away parental rights, stating:
“The only thing SB 5599 would do is cause harm by driving a wedge between vulnerable kids and their parents, at a time when a teen lacks the perception and judgment to make critical life-altering decisions.”
Braun also noted that even while Democrats passed this legislation, they are sponsoring a bill on juvenile sentencing. “Right now, [Democrats] are sponsoring a juvenile offender sentencing bill based on ‘the expansive body of scientific research on brain development, which shows that adolescents’ perception, judgment, and decision-making skills differ significantly from that of adults.’”
Supporters of the bill said passing the legislation shows that the state of Washington loves transgender children.
Rep. Nicole Macri, D, stated, “Kids’ lives are literally at stake. This bill is intended to keep them safe.” And Rep. Tana Senn, D, said, “I am speaking to youth across our nation, across our state, and our communities. I see you. I affirm you, that I hear you, that I love you. With this passage of the bill, we are saying Washington state does, too.”
Their statements are matched by the House’s “pros” section on their analysis of SB 5599.
“Not every family is ready to provide support to trans youth so if that youth is seeking protected health services, they should be able to safely access that care in supportive environments like shelters and host homes…Until the day all kids are accepted, we need to provide loving and supporting places so we can all reach our potential we were given at birth. LGBTQIA+ youth are overrepresented among the homeless, due to families kicking them out or a person seeking services from another state. Our state has a long history of advocating for the rights of LGBTQ community and this bill continues that tradition.”
The legislation does not specify how long the children can be kept from their parents. After a host home contacts DCYF, it must report to DCYF about “the youth’s participation in the host home program at least once every month when the youth remains in the host home longer than one month; and provide case management outside of the host home and away from any individuals residing in the home at least once per month.”
According to critics, this means that the host home may keep the child separated from his or her parents indefinitely.
SB 5599 appears to assume that a parent is opposed to these procedures and gives the organizations the right to keep children away from their parents, but missing from the legislation is any detail on how authorities decide that a parent is resisting a child’s gender transition or abortion or whether it is simply taking the child at his or her word.
Republican state Rep. Jim Walsh introduced an amendment that would have added the clause “the lack of adequate affirmation of a child does not constitute negligent treatment or maltreatment in and of itself,” but it was rejected.
First, the “state” of Washington does not “love” transgender children — any more than it loves the thousands of foster care children who have languished in the state’s underfunded, mismanaged, and cruel DCYF-run system for decades. In fact, Washington’s foster care agency has long been accused of being too aggressive in separating children from their parents.
The results for many children have been devastating. In 2019, the state paid out $84 million on behalf of DCYF to compensate children for injuries they had sustained while in foster care. Nearly $20 million was paid to a single child because, at 18 months old, she was beaten so severely by her foster father that she can no longer walk, talk, see, or feed herself; a second case was settled for $8.5 million after two young girls were repeatedly raped by their foster father, despite the fact that DCYF had received reports of prior inappropriate behavior towards children.
In June 2022, DCYF settled a federal class-action suit because for years it had been housing children, many of them younger than four years old, in hotels, state offices, and even cars and sending them to out-of-state institutions. One teenager was shuffled through 40 different places over the span of just three years.
“They were bad memories. They were like memories that I can’t get out of my head,” the teen recalled. “I’d wake up in the morning and go, like, ‘What’s gonna happen? Where am I gonna go today? I don’t know where I’m gonna go.”
And now, through this new legislation, the state thinks they should put DCYF and its “approved” proxies in charge of more children? And not children whose parents are hopelessly drug-addicted or abusive but children whose parents are simply exercising their God-given responsibility to look out for their child’s well-being by not subjecting him or her to experimental drugs and mutilating surgeries or by not allowing their daughter to experience the risk and trauma of an abortion.
This bill truly is “state-sanctioned kidnapping.” Children are not independent nor do they “belong” to the government. They belong to their parents, who know them better than anyone else and who truly love them enough to look out for their long-term best interests.
The term “groomer” certainly seems applicable here, particularly given that the government is using its vast powers to actively encourage children to leave their parents and undergo these invasive, harmful procedures.
By passing this legislation, the state of Washington is telling parents who oppose gender affirmation or abortion that by disagreeing with the radical views of leftist politicians, they no longer have the right to safeguard their own children as they see fit.
What could be more disturbing, more authoritarian than this?
Proverbs 8 states that wisdom says,
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate.”
Legislation like this is evil and should be hated. Those who fear the Lord should stand up against these laws, speak out about their ills, and work to get them defeated or rescinded. They must also vote and campaign for those who will honor God as well as consider running for office.
And parents, take heed: If you live in one of these states whose leaders “love” children so much that they pass laws encouraging them to lie to and rebel against their own mother and father, move into an abusive environment, undergo irreversible, Frankensteinian “treatments,” and endure an abortion alone and without any family support… well, you might want to seriously consider leaving the state — and fast. It is no longer safe for you to stay.
These activist politicians are coming for your children. They believe they have a right to them, and they will not stop until they have fully captured them — heart, mind, body, and soul.
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.