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AGO 1952 No. 448 - December 23, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

OPERATION OF GROUP HOMES IN CONNECTION WITH STATE CORRECTIONAL SCHOOL PROGRAMS.

Division of Children and Youth Services may acquire, maintain, and operate group homes for post-institutional care and education of inmates of the two training schools for purpose of restoration of such persons to normal citizenship.

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                                                               December 23, 1952 

Honorable Van R. Hinkle, Supervisor
Division of Children and Youth Services
Department of Public Institutions
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 448

 Dear Sir:

             This is in reply to your recent letter stating you have learned that many boys in the Washington State Training School for Boys at Chehalis, and many girls in the State School for Girls at Grand Mound do not have an adequate home to which they may be restored and require an extension of institutional supervision as they return to community living.  You express the hope that, under the provisions of the children and youth services' statute (RCW 43.19.260 to 43.19.440, inclusive) private residences may be located in the larger population centers where such boys or girls may reside while continuing their education or engaging in private employment, the activities of such residences to be directed by qualified personnel.  You are of the view that the statute contemplates such a program but are in doubt whether "such can be done on an institutional level or must be done on a division basis."

             You inquire whether group homes may be operated "on a division basis" as an adjunct to the state correctional school programs and their maintenance paid from the appropriation therefor.

             It is the opinion of this office that your question should be answered in the affirmative.

              [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

             In 1951 the legislature established within the department of public institutions a new division known as the division of children and youth services.  RCW 43.19.270.  The Washington State Training School for Boys at Chehalis and the State School for Girls at Grand Mound were placed under the division of children and youth services.  The stated purpose of the statute was to provide for the persons committed to those schools that type of care, instruction and treatment most likely to accomplish their rehabilitation and restoration to normal citizenship.  (See chapter 234, section 1, Laws of 1951).

             The statute (RCW 43.19.370) requires the division to

             "* * * establish, maintain, operate and administer a comprehensive program for the custody, care, education, treatment, instruction, guidance, control and rehabilitation of all persons who may be committed or admitted to institutions, schools, or other facilities controlled and operated by the division and in order to accomplish these purposes, the powers and duties of the supervisor of the division of children and youth services shall include the following:

             "* * *

             "(3) The supervision of all persons committed or admitted to any institution, school, or other facility operated by the division, and the transfer of such persons from any such institution, school, or facility to any other such school, institution, or facility:  Provided, That where a person has been committed to a minimum security institution, school, or facility by any of the superior courts of this state, a transfer to a close security institution shall be made only with the consent and approval of such court.  This shall not apply to the State School for the Deaf or the State School for the Blind.

              [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            (4) The supervision of parole, discharge, or other release, and the post-institutional placement of all persons committed to the Washington State Training School and the State School for Girls, or such as may be assigned, paroled, or transferred therefrom to other facilities operated by the division.  The State Training School and the State School for Girls are hereby designated as 'close security' institutions to which shall be given the custody of children with the most serious behavior problems.

             "The department, through the division, shall have power to acquire, establish, maintain and operate 'minimum security' facilities for the care, custody, education, and treatment of children with less serious behavior problems.  Such facilities may include parental schools or homes, farm units, and forest camps.  Admission to such minimum security facilities shall be by juvenile court commitment or by transfer as herein otherwise provided.  In carrying out the purposes of this section, the department may establish or acquire the use of such facilities by gift, purchase, lease, contract, or other arrangement with existing public entities, and to that end the director may execute necessary leases, contracts, or other agreements.  * * *" RCW 43.19.390.

             The statute (RCW 43.19.260 to 43.19.440) under which the division of children and youth services was established provides (RCW 43.19.420) that the statute

             "* * * shall be construed in connection with and supplemental to the juvenile court law as embraced in chapter 13.04.  Process, procedure, probation by the court prior to commitment, and commitment shall be as provided therein.  * * *"

              [[Orig. Op. Page 4]]

            Any boy between the ages of eight and sixteen years who has been found delinquent under chapter 13.04 RCW, may be committed by the court to the Washington State Training School; and any girl between the ages of ten and eighteen years, who has been found delinquent under chapter 13.04 RCW, may be committed by the court to the State School for Girls.  In each case the juvenile committed will remain in the state school until arrival at the age of twenty-one years, unless sooner paroled or legally discharged.  RCW 13.08.010 and 13.08.020.

             The statute is clear.  The supervisor of the division of children and youth services is charged with the duty of administering a comprehensive program for the custody, care, instruction and rehabilitation of persons who may be committed to the Washington State Training School or the State School for Girls, which are designated "close security" institutions to which is given the custody of children with the most serious behavior problems.  The division may, transfer persons from the two "close security" institutions mentioned, to a "minimum security" institution or school but may not transfer persons from a "minimum security" institution to a "close security" institution.  RCW 43.19.370, subsection 3.

             The parole, discharge or other release of all persons from the two schools mentioned and the post-institutional placement of all such persons, as well as assignment, parole, or transfer from the two schools to other facilities operated by the division shall be under the supervision of the division of children and youth services.  See RCW 43.19.370, subsection 4.

             The department of public institutions, through the division of children and youth services, is expressly authorized (RCW 43.19.390) to acquire, establish, maintain, and operate "minimum security" facilities to which, first, admission may be had by juvenile court commitment; and, second, by transfer thereto from the two "close security" state schools.  The express grant of powers to the department, through the division, should be so construed as to give full efficacy to those powers and enable the division to carry them into effect.

            The duty is imposed upon and the authority vested in the department, through the division, to perform all acts necessary to accomplish the purpose of the statute to provide for persons committed or admitted to the two schools that type of care, instruction, and treatment‑-includes providing homes, etc., for post-institutional care, instruction, etc.,‑-most likely to accomplish the rehabilitation  [[Orig. Op. Page 5]] and restoration of such persons to normal citizenship.

 Very truly yours,
SMITH TROY
Attorney General 

FRED L. HARLOCKER
Assistant Attorney General

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