A new state agency with a focus on improving outcomes for at-risk children, youth and families was created Thursday. (TRT: 1:22) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

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Sen. Jeannie Darneille of Tacoma served on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on the Delivery of Services to Children and Families and recommended updates to services for at-risk children and youth. On Thursday, with the signing of a bill, the new state Department of Children Youth and Families became a reality.

Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma: (TRT: 16) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “This new department has so much potential for reinvigorating the real concept of who is our client here. We’re the State of Washington. Our client is the child. And, while we are providing services for that child, we’re going to be able to strengthen their family as well.”

The new agency will combine the services offered through the state Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration and the Department of Early Learning. By July of 2019, the new department will also include programs offered by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Office and the Office of Juvenile Justice.

Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma: (TRT: 24) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “One of the real pivotal parts of the mission of this new department is that we will completely change our state from being a state government that responds to crisis in families, to a state that gets in front of those crises, and actually trains and helps parents learn to be self-sustaining with new skill sets, so they don’t find themselves in position where children are hurt.”

The new department will have a yearlong transition period as the logistics of combining these services are worked out.

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.