OLYMPIA — A bill passed today by the state Senate would address funding issues for the behavioral rehabilitation services that help Washington’s children.

“These youth are some of the most vulnerable in our state, and we’ve known for years that they’re not receiving the services they need,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle. “Many of these children are in foster care. In many instances, they have suffered neglect or abuse. We are their Washington family, and we must ensure the services they need are funded so these children can move toward a better life.”

Currently, the state reimburses behavioral rehabilitation providers at levels far less than the actual costs of helping the children in need of these services. The current cost of business for these facilities is $248 per day, per child. The actual cost of providing services is $411 per day, per child.

As a result of this funding disparity, the state has lost more than 170 behavioral rehabilitation service beds since 2009. Between 60 and 70 Washington children are being treated out of state, and another 195 children are being housed in hotels awaiting behavioral rehabilitation service beds — costing the state about $2,100 per day, according to the Children’s Administration.

Many of the children served by these programs are in foster care.

Senate Bill 6013 would require the state Department of Children, Youth and Families to facilitate a workgroup to design a rate payment methodology based on the true costs of providing behavioral rehabilitation services. It would also require that these services be forecasted and budgeted in the future.

The bill passed with a unanimous vote in the Senate.