Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
Email Feedback | Printing Help
Practices and Procedures Guide

5000. CASE SUPPORTS

5100. FOSTER FAMILY HOME LICENSING

5110. Introduction

  1. Chapter 74.15 Revised Code of Washington (RCW), extracted in booklet form DSHS 22-101, and the Minimum Licensing Requirements (MLR) contained in Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 388-148, extracted in booklet DSHS 22-12, constitute the basic practice guide for licensers of foster family homes. This section contains complementary information.
  2. The following is a statement of legislative intent: Children placed in foster care are particularly vulnerable and have a special need for placement in an environment that is stable, safe, and nurturing. For this reason, foster homes should be held to a high standard of care, and department decisions regarding denial, suspension, or revocation of foster care licenses should be upheld on review if there are reasonable grounds for such action.

5120. Inquiry

Staff designated by each Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) Regional Manager must provide information about foster home licensing requirements, orientation, and pre-service training, upon request. The local DLR Office of Foster Care Licensing (OFCL) office must establish procedures to give out forms and other pertinent information, either at orientation meetings or by mail. The application packet provided to the potential applicant must include those documents and materials prescribed by regional or local policy and procedure.

5130. Licensing and Re-licensing

5131. Foster Home License Application

Purpose Statement Applications for foster home licenses are submitted to local offices and processed by Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) staff.
Policy
  1. Foster home applications and accompanying documents from prospective foster parents must be date stamped and sent to the assigned licensor for action.
  2. Foster home licenses are issued for a maximum of 2 adults per license, unless the DLR Area Administrator approves an additional adult.
Procedures
  1. Licensor will review the foster home license application and all required supporting documentation and forms.
  2. Licensor will interview the applicants and conduct an inspection of the home and property prior to a license being issued.
  3. Licensor and supervisor will approve or deny the license application within 90 days.

Note: Exception to the 90 days must be approved by the supervisor and documented in a Provider note in the electronic Provider record

Forms and Tools

DSHS 10-354 Application for Family Home Care for Children in Out of Home Placement

DSHS 09-653 Background Authorization

DSHS 15-276 Personal Information

DSHS 16-204 Fire Evacuation Plan

DSHS 10-290 Policy Agreement

5132. Licensing Study

The usual steps for processing an application are:

  1. The licenser or clerical person designated by local procedure enters the application information into the Case and Management Information System licensing module, makes up a file folder, and checks Child Protective Services (CPS) and local office records, including CAMIS, for prior involvement with the agency.
  2. The clerk or licenser mails out reference letters to the people designated by the applicant, with return envelopes stamped with the licenser's name.
  3. The licenser, or support staff, submits completed forms to conduct a criminal background check, as outlined in the Operations Manual, chapter 5000, section 5500. For applicants who have resided in the state less than three years, finger print checks must be completed for all persons age 16 and above. See section 5500 for steps to follow. As part of the criminal background check, the worker must contact local law enforcement agencies, including tribal police if the person resides or has resided on an Indian reservation or is known to be or may be affiliated with a particular Tribe. The assigned staff completes a DCFS records check in CAMIS as part of the background check.
  4. Within one week after receipt of the application packet, the licenser makes contact with the applicant to inform them that the process has started and to coordinate a timeframe for the face-to-face interviews. The applicant(s) can also share when they expect to complete their requirements, including TB tests and First Aid/CPR/AIDS training. If the licenser makes initial contact by telephone, he/she follows up with a letter so that the applicant has the information in writing along with the licenser’s name and telephone number for future use.
  5. The foster family home licenser completes a study of the applicant(s) and family, by using the Foster Home Assessment, DSHS 10-51, including family interviews to evaluate character, personal history from childhood to the present, marriages and relationships, trauma and crises, coping skills, child care skills and experience, and any other pertinent information which bears on the applicant(s)' ability to care for children.
  6. The licenser utilizes two checklists to assure that compliance with MLR is met before the license is issued. The checklists are the Licensing File Checklist - Foster Family Care, DSHS 10-182, and Home Inspection Checklist for Foster Family Care Licensing, DSHS 10-183.
  7. The licenser determines that the applicant(s) have sufficient income to meet their own and their family's personal needs without reliance on foster care payments made in behalf of children in their care. Foster parents shall not be dependent on foster care payments for the support of themselves or their own households. Sufficiency is defined by the TANF or General Assistance payment standard of income for the household and adjusted for family size.
  8. The licenser may require the applicant to furnish additional pertinent information.

5133. Decision on Licensure

  1. All requirements of chapter 388-148 WAC must be met before the OFCL Regional Manager signs and issues the license.
  2. If the licenser determines that a person is disqualified from association with a child care agency for not meeting minimum licensing requirements of chapters 74.15 RCW and WAC 388-148, the Regional Manager, or designee, shall give written notice of disqualification to the person. The notice shall state what the person is disqualified from doing, the reasons for the disqualification, and the applicable law under which the person is disqualified.
    1. The licenser applies the procedures contained in RCW 43.20A.205, regarding Denial, Suspension, Revocation, or Modification of License, when issuing a notice of disqualification to a person.
    2. A licensee under chapter 74.15 RCW may not allow a person disqualified under this section to associate with the licensee's agency. The disqualification of a person may not be contested by a licensee.
    3. If a notice of disqualification is based on a CPS finding of abuse and neglect, and after a fair hearing it is determined that the allegations are not supported by a preponderance of the evidence, the assigned social worker and licenser shall amend the records to so state.
    4. The OFCL Regional Manager, in accordance with WAC 388--06, may remove a disqualification based on conviction of a crime. The OFCL Regional Manager may remove a disqualification based on another reason if the disqualified person demonstrates by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that he or she is sufficiently rehabilitated to warrant public trust and to comply with the requirements of chapters 74.15 RCW and 388-148 WAC.

5134. Initial License

See the interim initial license policy.

5135. Re-licensing

  1. Re-licensing occurs when the licensee moves to a new residence and at three-year intervals following issuance of the license.
    1. The license issued under section 5133 and chapter 74.15 RCW is not transferable and applies only to the licensee and the location stated in the application.
    2. For licensed foster family homes having an acceptable history of child care, the license may remain in effect for two weeks after a move, except that this will apply only if the family remains intact.
  2. Prior to expiration of an existing license, the licenser or support staff, as determined by local procedure, sends a re-application form to the licensee sufficiently in advance of the expiration date of the license to provide time for return of the signed re-application and department action before the license expires. If the licensee submits a signed application before the expiration date, the old license remains in effect until the department acts on the re-application. The licenser sends the forms and documents defined by regional or local procedures to the licensee as part of the re-application packet.
  3. For renewal of a license, the licenser rechecks the criminal history and DCFS files, including CAMIS, and reviews the experiences of the past licensing period with the licensee. As part of the criminal background check, the worker must contact local law enforcement agencies, including tribal police if the person resides or has resided on an Indian reservation or is known to be or may be affiliated with a particular Tribe.
  4. The licenser makes a home visit to check for continuing compliance with health and safety aspects as outlined in Checklist DSHS 10-183.
  5. The licenser completes the Foster Home Reassessment, DSHS 10-50.
  6. The licenser checks to see that the applicant/licensee has updated their Discipline policy, First Aid and CPR training, and that the home meets the health and safety check.
  7. At any time during licensure, the licenser may modify or change the numbers, ages, and types of children on the license, depending on the circumstances and/or wishes of the licensee and the evaluation of the licenser.
  8. The local office licenser must determine whether to issue a new license per section 5133 above.

5136. Re-Evaluation

  1. The licenser re-evaluates the home for suitability for continuing licensure or adjustment to the license, as well as affect on child(ren) in placement, under the following conditions:
    1. Each time a person other than a child in placement moves in or out of the home.
    2. The licensed foster parents divorce or separate.
    3. Serious illness or death of a licensed provider occurs.
  2. The licenser must complete a criminal history and background check as described in the Operations Manual, chapter 5000, section 5500, on each new person residing in the home. As part of the criminal background check, the worker must contact local law enforcement agencies, including tribal police if the person resides or has resided on an Indian reservation or is known to be or may be affiliated with a particular Tribe. The licenser must interview the licensee and other appropriate parties, and request other information and documentation, as necessary, to complete the re-evaluation of the home. The licenser must document the re-evaluation in the licensing file.
  3. The licenser must inform each licensed facility in writing at the time of re-evaluation that the facility must routinely report all suspected criminal activity and significant events to the licenser in accordance with incident reporting procedures.

5137. Probationary License

  1. The licenser may issue a probationary license to a licensee who has had a license but is temporarily unable to comply with a rule or has been the subject of multiple complaints or concerns about noncompliance if the following conditions apply:
    1. The noncompliance does not present an immediate threat to the health and wellbeing of the children but would be likely to do so if allowed to continue.
    2. The licensee has a plan approved by the licenser to correct the area of noncompliance within the probationary period.
  2. A probationary license may be issued for up to six months and, at the discretion of the licenser and supervisor, may be extended for an additional six months.
  3. The department must immediately terminate the probationary license if, at any time, the noncompliance for which the probationary license was issued presents an immediate threat to the health or well-being of the children.
  4. An existing license is invalidated when a probationary license is issued.
  5. At the expiration of the probationary license, the department shall reinstate the original license for the remainder of its term, issue a new license, or revoke the original license.

5138. Licensing or Approval of CA Employees for Foster Care or Adoption

Purpose Statement To establish requirements for CA employees that want to become foster, relative or adoptive parent(s).
Laws
Policy
  1. All CA employees and all DSHS employees who are co-located in the same building as an office of the DSHS Children's Administration who want to become licensed foster or adoptive parents must:
    1. Obtain foster parent or adoptive parent certification through a private Child Placing Agency (CPA), and
    2. Comply with the provisions in Administrative Policy 6.24 DSHS Employee Foster Care Licensing and Adoption Certification and Administrative Policy 18.64 Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees.
  2. Any licensed foster parent who becomes a new CA employee or co-located DSHS employee must have certification and case management services through a CPA within six months of employment
Procedures

Employees covered by this policy will:

  1. Verify they are certified and licensed by a private child-placing agency (CPA).
  2. Act solely in the role of foster and/or adoptive parent(s) when in a court or any other legal proceeding regarding a child placed in the employee home.
  3. Receive placement and case management services through the CPA only.
  4. At a minimum, will not accept placement of a child from within their own office unless otherwise approved.

Employees covered by this policy will not:

  1. Receive placements or case management services through CA.

    Exception: Placement is short term, time-limited and the CA employee has a waiver signed by the CA Regional Administrator or his/her designee.

  2. Access electronic or hard files, including files of any child placed or any child considered for placement in the employee's home, or licensing files of the employee

    Note: Employees may request information as needed from the child's social worker or the licensor.

  3. Use any of the agency's electronic information system or colleagues to obtain information about any child placed in their home.
Cultural Considerations

Family Centered Approach:
The way CA staff engages the family (or fails to engage the family) can directly affect the willingness of the family to work with other members of the department. The level of trust and integrity established between the agency and the family often has a direct relationship on the child being able to remain/reunify with his/her family. Everyone who meets the family needs to build positive relationships.

For example:
The definition of family varies from group to group. While the dominant culture has focused on the nuclear family, African Americans define family as a wide network of extended family, non-blood kin and community. Native American Indian families traditionally include at least three generations and multiple parental functions delegated among aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents and cousins. Different cultural groups also vary in their traditional practices and views of adoption.

Determine if there are cultural considerations that need to be addressed as part of the planning process, for example, obtaining information about protocols, such as, how to approach a family, use of a cultural elder, matriarch or patriarch or the need for a culturally appropriate support person.

See Also
  • Administrative Policy 6.24
  • Administrative Policy 18.64

5140. Complaint Investigation

Purpose Statement Licensing Complaint Investigations determine if a violation of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) licensing regulations has occurred in a licensed facility. "Valid" findings result in Compliance Agreements which stipulate the steps to reach compliance with WAC.
Laws

RCW 74.15 Licensing of facilities for the care and placement of children, expectant mothers, developmentally disabled persons.

Chapter 388-148 WAC Licensing requirements for child foster homes.

Policy

The assigned complaint investigator will:

  1. Follow the DLR/CPS Practice Guide for all concurrent CA/N allegations investigations involving both DLR/CPS and licensing.
  2. Begin licensing complaint investigations within 5 days of receipt of the intake. Document the beginning of the investigation in a Provider note.
  3. Consult with a supervisor prior to finding determination and document the consultation in a Provider note.
  4. Determine if the finding is Valid or Not Valid within 45 days by using following the criteria:
    • Valid: Based on the facts obtained in the investigation, there is reasonable cause to believe a licensing violation occurred.
    • Not Valid: Based on the facts obtained in the investigation, there is reasonable cause to believe a licensing violation did not occur or it cannot be determined if a licensing violation occurred.

    Exception: Any complaint investigation extension must have Area Administrator approval and be documented in a Provider note.

  5. Document the finding determination under Provider Action in the electronic file.
  6. Notify the licensee of the findings. Regional Licensors must copy the supervising agency when they notify the licensee.

The Licensor will create a Compliance Agreement with the licensee that stipulates the specific actions the licensee will take to reach compliance with each violated WAC.

Procedures

For homes and facilities directly supervised by CA, the complaint investigator will:

  1. Review Provider information, including:
    1. Case numbers associated with the Provider.
    2. Case and Provider notes.
    3. Intakes attached to the Person ID numbers.
    4. Incident reports and any past Compliance Agreements.
  2. Notify the licensee as soon as possible of the complaint to discuss the following:
    1. Allegations in the intake.
    2. Investigation process and timelines.
  3. Immediately address any violations which threaten the health and safety of children per Safety Section policy.
  4. Collaborate with the Licensor if the complaint investigator is someone other than the Licensor.
  5. Assess through shared decision making per Safety Section policy if new information creates:
    1. Cause to re-refer to CA intake or law enforcement,
    2. Placement reconsideration by the child's social worker, or
    3. Cause for immediate licensing action, such as a stop placement or
    4. summary suspension.
  6. Re-assess safety as additional information becomes available per Safety Section policy.
  7. Address any additional WAC violations noted during the course of the investigation with the licensee.
  8. Interview all foster parents, staff and verbal foster children identified in the intake separately. Interview current children in placement who may have witnessed or been affected by the alleged licensing violations. Interviews with parties not identified in the intake may be merited. All interviews must be documented in a provider note.

    NOTE: Decisions to not interview must be approved by a supervisor and documented in a provider note.

  9. Invite the CA social workers for children identified in the intake to the interviews. The complaint investigator will determine what questions the child will be asked regarding the violation allegations
  10. Ask the child if s/he wishes to have a third party present.
  11. Complaint investigations may include:
    • Interviews of the social workers for the children currently or previously in the foster home or facility.
    • Review of files for the children involved in the intake, including ISSPs, treatment plans, supervision plans, and behavior management plans.
    • Interviews with children not in the department's custody; such interviews require parental consent.
    • Collateral contacts, such as
      • Foster child's therapist
      • Foster parent's therapist
      • Foster child's medical providers
      • Foster child's teachers/school counselors

      NOTE: A signed release of information is required for adults and all children not in CA custody. A release of information signed by youth over age 13 in CA custody is required for mental health and substance abuse treatment providers.

    • Referral to law enforcement or regulatory agency.
    • Assessment requests as needed. CA may specify the provider. The licensee may be required to pay for the evaluation. The complaint investigator and/or Licensor will identify the issues to be assessed for the provider.

For foster homes supervised by a Child Placing Agency (CPA), the Regional Licensor will:

  1. Review the Provider file information.
  2. Contact the CPA to:
    • Explain the allegations.
    • Identify the potential licensing violations.
    • Inform CPA staff that should any child disclose abuse and neglect during the investigation, the CPA staff is to only collect information for a CPS intake and not to conduct a forensic interview of the child.
    • Provide support and assistance throughout the information gathering phase.
    • Specify parties to be interviewed as needed.
    • Conduct interviews. Regional Licensors may choose to be present at interviews.
    • Oversee the investigation.
  3. Determine the findings.
  4. Require the CPA complete a Compliance Agreement with the foster family for each 'Valid" finding. The Regional Licensor approves the Compliance Agreement conditions.

Complaints are closed as follows:

  1. CA complaint investigators and Regional Licensors close 'not valid' complaints after findings are approved by the complaint investigator's supervisor.
  2. Licensors close 'valid' complaints when:
    • Compliance agreement conditions are met, or
    • Any licensing action, including appeals, has closed.
Cultural Considerations

Determine if there are cultural considerations that need to be addressed as part of the planning process, for example, obtaining information about protocols, such as, how to approach a family, use of a cultural elder, matriarch or patriarch or the need for a culturally appropriate support person.

Government to government relationships must be respected with working with Tribal CPAs and facilities. Follow Tribal Agreements when interviewing Tribal children in a CA licensed foster home or facility.

Automated Actions FamLink sends email notices to the licensor assigned as the primary worker for the Provider and his/her supervisor when the Provider Intake is created.
Forms and Tools

DSHS-10-248 Compliance Agreement

DSHS-10-248A Compliance Agreement Continuation

Resources

DLR/CPS Practice Guide

Suggested Practice Tips Licensing compliant investigations are an opportunity to provide training and technical assistance through a supportive and collaborative approach.

5150. Action on Licenses

  1. In those cases where an investigation has been completed and substantiation of CA/N has occurred and/or serious non-compliance with MLR has been verified (with unsuccessful corrective action measures), the licenser must consider taking action against the license. DLR must make a determination as to whether licensing action is warranted following case staffing and consultation with the Attorney General's Office as provided below.
  2. The licenser must staff the case with all involved DCFS staff, including the CPS investigator, social workers for children in the home, and appropriate supervisory and administrative personnel.
  3. Stop Placement Actions:
    1. The DLR licenser may issue a stop placement order for any licensee who is the subject of an investigation of alleged child abuse or neglect or failure to comply with licensing requirements.
    2. The licenser must issue the stop placement order when the department has concerns about the health, safety, and wellbeing of the child in placement. Involved DCFS and DDD staff should participate in the staffing. However, DLR has the ultimate decision-making responsibility in the stop placement action. If the licenser takes such action, the licenser must formally inform all affected staff, including DCFS, DLR, and DDD, of such corrective or stop placement actions.
  4. Denial, Suspension, and Revocation
    1. When considering denial, suspension, or revocation, the licenser must confer with the assigned Assistant Attorney General (AAG) to determine appropriate action. If a determination is made to take licensing action, the licenser must prepare a draft denial, suspension, or revocation (as applicable) letter for review by the AAG. The draft letter must include:
      1. A concise summary of the CPS allegations (if applicable), RCW, and WAC violations, findings, and conclusions.
      2. Documentation of corrective action attempted, if appropriate.
      3. Detailed citation of all applicable RCW/WAC violated.
      4. Complete information advising the licensee of their administrative hearing rights, including the filing process and timeframes.
    2. DLR may deny an agency a license. DLR may suspend, revoke, modify, or not renew any license issued pursuant to chapter 74.15 RCW and RCW 74.13.031 upon proof that the agency has failed or refused to comply with the provisions of chapter 74.15 RCW and RCW 74.13.031 or Washington Administrative Code (WAC) applicable to their license. DLR also may suspend, revoke, modify, or not renew a license if the conditions required for issuance of a license under chapter 74.15 RCW and RCW 74.13.031 have ceased to exist with respect to such licenses. RCW 43.20A.205 governs notice of a license denial, revocation, suspension, or modification, and provides the right to an adjudicative proceeding. See the Case Services Policy Manual, chapter 8000, section 8100. RCW 74.15.130
  5. Upon approval as to form and content by the AAG, the Regional Manager, as the regional licensing authority, must sign and send the final letter by certified mail or other proper method of service to the licensee as provided in Chapter 43.20A RCW.
  6. In any adjudicative proceeding regarding the denial, modification, suspension, or revocation of a foster family home license, the review judge must uphold the department's if there is reasonable cause to believe that:
    1. The applicant or licensee lacks the character, suitability, or competence to care for children placed in out-of-home care; however, no unfounded report of child abuse or neglect may be used to deny employment or a license;
    2. The applicant or licensee has failed or refused to comply with any provision of chapter 74.15 RCW, the licensing chapter, RCW 74.13.031, authorizing child welfare services, or chapter 388-148 WAC or 388-160 WAC (Overnight Youth Shelter; or
    3. The conditions required for issuance of a license under chapter 74.15 RCW, RCW 74.13.031, and chapters 388-148 or 388-160 WAC have ceased to exist with respect to such licenses. RCW 74.15.130

5160. Recruitment and Retention of Homes

Recruitment and retention activities are an on-going statewide process, with emphasis in the local area on the need for specially skilled homes for specific children. Recruitment is primarily a responsibility of DCFS and a secondary responsibility of DLR and the licenser. Assigned DCFS staff are encouraged to conduct outreach to people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds as part of a regular and periodic effort to recruit new homes.

5170. Placement Activities

5171. Licenser Role

  1. The licensing regulatory functions are designed to safeguard the well-being of children in out-of-home placements. Therefore, the primary duty of a licenser is to periodically review whether the applicant/licensee is in compliance with MLR.
  2. The licenser does not play a role as a placement worker, but has a secondary responsibility as a resource developer.
  3. The Regional Manager manages the role of licenser under the following conditions:
    1. Each Regional Manager develops procedures that specifically outline how staff will carry out licensing and monitoring functions. Such procedures must address at least:
      1. Waiver processing and approval.
      2. Processing of Incident Reports.
      3. Complaints/corrective actions.
      4. Shared decision-making.
      5. Separation of functions for licensers.
    2. The local or other designated office must conduct all investigations of incidents in licensed facilities in conformance with the Operations Manual, chapter 5000, section 5300.
    3. The Regional Manager must, within available resources, arrange for training for licensers and other affected staff specifically designed to provide increased expertise and ongoing clarification of job functions and expectations.
    4. The Regional Manager is expected to maintain a complete separation of child welfare case services from licensing duties in all offices.
    5. The Regional Manager shall provide ongoing case consultation with each licenser to identify or eliminate any possible situations that could result in conflict arising from regulatory as opposed to placement issues.
    6. The licenser shall staff all problematic licensed homes with the social workers for children placed, the DLR CPS investigator assigned to do incident reports, and involved supervisors. The staffing shall consider, with other issues identified by the group, conclusions of the CPS or licensing investigation(s) and recommendations for corrective action. The staffing shall also consider the cumulative seriousness of multiple complaints.
    7. The licenser shall request consultation with the AAG regarding proposed corrective actions resulting from MLR violations.
    8. The Regional Manager and the licenser shall discuss and review all requests for waivers and compliance agreements for children's health and safety needs. Neither the licenser nor the Regional Manager shall endorse such a request if it compromises health and safety. They shall seek administrative consultation on a case by case basis.
    9. If a serious issue is identified in a licensed home with or without a finding of abuse/neglect and a conflict occurs between the licenser of the home and the social worker for the child(ren) placed, the assigned supervisors for those staff shall resolve the conflict, consistent with the Operations Manual, chapter 5000, section 5100. The protection of the children involved shall be paramount to any other consideration.
    10. Where the DCFS supervisor and the OFCL Regional Manager are unable to resolve the conflict between the workers, the Regional Manager and the appropriate Area Manager shall make an effort to resolve the issue. If they are unable to do so, the Regional Administrator and the Chief, OFCL, will make the final decision.

5172. Considerations for Placements

When it is necessary to place a child or sibling group into foster care, the focus of the placement worker and the worker assigned to the child(ren) is first on meeting the child(ren)'s individual needs by providing the least restrictive possible placement. When the assigned worker requests a foster home for a child(ren), the placement worker consults the licenser, as appropriate, and considers the following when identifying a suitable home:

  1. The child(ren)'s proximity to their own home and family to facilitate visitation with parents.
  2. Closeness to the child(ren)'s school or child day care so that attendance is not disrupted.
  3. The foster family’s ability to meet the child’s cultural, linguistic, and religious needs. A foster family need not be of the same ethnic background as the child in order to meet the ethnic or cultural needs of a child. Unless CA staff identifies a compelling reason, CA staff will not match children on the basis of race to foster or adoptive families.
  4. In the case of behaviors that pose a danger to other children, a home that have either no children or children older than the child being placed.
  5. If many medical or counseling appointments are anticipated, the availability of a caretaker or substitute at home, which is essential with medically fragile or severely disabled/special needs children.
  6. The experience and skill level of the foster parent.
  7. The capability of the foster parent to meet the identified needs of the child, such as behavioral or physical needs.

    The placement worker uses these primary factors plus other case-specific and unique criteria as guides in searching for the most appropriate placement.

5175. Health and safety Reviews

DLR OFCL licensers must complete health and safety reviews of licensed homes on a selective basis as prescribed by DLR. The licensers must follow the guidelines for the reviews contained in chapter 4000, section 4421, Health and Safety of Children, including face-to-face interviews with the children in care.

5180. Foster Parent Supports

5181. Training

  1. The local office licenser must offer Orientation and Pre-Service Training on a regular basis and sends notice of classes to those potential applicants who have inquired about a license. The licenser has applicants complete Pre-Service Training prior to approving the license, unless attendance has been postponed by a properly authorized waiver, to the extent provided by law and limited to 90 days.
  2. Children’s Administration provides more comprehensive training, including PRIDE. The Foster Parent Trainer may reimburse child care and mileage at state rates, upon request and subject to availability of funds for this purpose.
  3. The licenser identifies and makes available other training opportunities for foster parents, as budgets permit. The licenser shall encourage the foster parents' participation.

5182. Support Services

  1. The licenser often becomes aware of problems or concerns which arise due to child(ren)'s behavior, payment issues, communication between the social worker and the foster parent, or conflicts regarding case plans. The licenser must attempt to clear up such questions by providing general information and refer the foster parent to the child's worker, the worker's supervisor, and/or inform the worker and the supervisor of the problems/concerns. At other times, the licenser may convene a meeting of concerned parties to open communication and resolve issues.
  2. The licenser informs the foster parents that they have access to peer support through the statewide Foster Parents Association of Washington State (FPAWS). The licenser also provides information to foster parents about availability of Foster Intervention/Retention Support Team (FIRST) at the time of licensing, upon request, and at the time of a CPS investigation.
  3. Support services, such as respite care, may be available but can vary from region to region, depending on budgetary allotments and program development. See chapter 4000, Section 4510, for a description of Respite Care for foster parents. The Regional Administrator must issue procedures identifying the nature of such services available in the region and the steps the DCFS social worker must take in behalf of the licensee to access them.

5183. Ancillary Supports

The social worker consults regional procedures to access ancillary support services for foster parents. Home Finders are a resource to provide information on regional availability of this service.

5184. Foster Parent Liaison

  1. The legislature, in RCW 74.13.340, mandated that CA provide foster parent liaison positions throughout the state. See the CA Case Services Policy Manual, chapter 8000, section 8110. CA contracts with the liaison agencies to:
    1. Provide support, consultation, and assistance to foster parents in accessing the DCFS and DLR systems;
    2. Troubleshoot issues;
    3. Promote teamwork between the foster parent and the social worker; and
    4. Expedite the licensing process.
    5. See the specific foster parent liaison contract for additional details on services.
  2. The CA social worker must refer the foster parent to a liaison in instances where the foster parent requests assistance from a liaison.

5190. File Maintenance

Each Regional Manager shall have staff maintain Family Foster Home Licensing files in accordance with record management requirements of the Operations Manual, chapter 13000, section 13500.

5200. RELATIVE CARETAKERS AND NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS

  1. When a child is placed in out-of-home care, a due diligent search for the child's parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s) shall be initiated by the assigned social worker. The due diligent search shall continue until the child is legally free or the permanent plan for a child has been completed. The search for any custodial, non-custodial, or absent parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s) may include the following actions:
    1. When a child is placed in out of home care under a voluntary placement agreement, the parent or legal guardian(s) who signs the agreement must provide information regarding a child's other parent, legal guardian(s), or relatives.
    2. For a child placed by court order, the court order shall include specific language requiring the parent(s) or legal guardian to provide information regarding relatives (including absent parent(s) or legal guardians).
    3. If a parent(s) or legal guardian(s) does not provide information regarding other custodial, non-custodial, or absent parents, the child's social worker can access the Federal Parent Locator service which is available to Children's Administration through an Inter-Agency Data Sharing Agreement with the Division of Child Support (DCS). However, this service is not available for locating relatives. Children's Administration has designated employees (federal funding staff) in regional and field offices that have been approved to access the DCS Support Enforcement Management System (SEMS).
    4. Follow any relative search policy including searches in-state and out-of-state.
  2. If the Children's Administration is unable to locate parent(s), relatives, and/or legal guardian(s) as stated in (A. 1-3), then the social worker will document other reasonable efforts to locate custodial, non-custodial, absent parents, and/or legal guardians and other relatives.
  3. Once a child is legally free, the due diligent search for the child's parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s) shall be terminated; however, CA shall continue to search for relatives as possible long term placement resources until the permanent plan is completed.

5201. Emergency Planning for Licensed and Unlicensed Caregivers

  1. Purpose

    To store current licensed and unlicensed caregiver(s) name, address and phone number and emergency contact information for all children in out-of-home care, in case of a disaster or emergency.

  2. Policy
    1. The assigned DLR licensor (licensed placements) and the assigned Social Worker (unlicensed placements) will ensure the following information is documented in the information management system:
      1. Emergency Contact Name; Recommend One In-State and One Out-of-State Contact
      2. Current Address for Caregiver and Emergency Contact Person(s)
      3. Current Phone Number(s) for Caregiver and Emergency Contact Person(s) (As applicable)
    2. The licensor and/or social worker as applicable is responsible for reviewing and updating this information as change occurs and at a minimum once a year.

5210. Service Description

  1. After considering the custodial or the non-custodial parent as a placement resource, DCFS regards relatives to be the first priority for placement of children who are removed from their homes. The relatives must be assessed as being appropriate to the child's needs and capable and willing to cooperate with the case plan. The search for relatives shall continue as long as it is in the best interest of the child or until the permanent plan for a child has been completed. The social worker shall document all search efforts for relatives.
  2. When a child is being placed through a voluntary placement agreement the social worker shall request from the parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s) information regarding relatives who could be considered as possible placement resources by the department.
  3. For a child placed by court order, the court order shall include specific language requiring the parent(s) or legal guardian to provide information regarding relatives or other suitable persons who could be considered as possible placement resources by the department.

5220. Eligibility

Relatives who can assist DCFS and the family in meeting the child's needs are eligible for consideration for placement. Relatives are considered to be those persons who are related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption. Some relatives who are more distantly related must be licensed as family foster homes. RCW 74.15.020

5230. Procedures

  1. Relatives of the child exempt from licensing
    1. Persons related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption to the child, through the mother or presumed or biological father, including:
      Grandparent Step Parent Brother Step Brother
      Sister Step Sister Uncle Aunt
      Nephew Niece First Cousin Second Cousin
    2. Persons of preceding generations related by blood or adoption as denoted by prefixes of grand, great, and great-great.
    3. Spouses of the above persons, even after the marriage is terminated.
    4. Relatives of any half-sibling of the child as stated above.
    5. "Extended family members" as defined by law or custom of the Native American child's tribe or, in the absence of such law or custom, a person who has reached the age of 18 and who is related to the child as defined in this section and further including second cousin and brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
    6. Unless known to the child or family and approved for placement by the court, any other relatives, including relatives of alleged fathers, must be licensed if DCFS or a child placing agency makes or supervises the placement. See the Case Services Policy Manual, Appendix A, for the definition of "alleged father."
  2. To consider a relative, who is exempt from licensing as a caretaker, the social worker completes a home study/assessment (per Section 45274 Relative Placement Home Study). The worker completes the study prior to placement, except in the case of a parent making the placement before DCFS takes custody or pursuant to a Shelter Care order or a Dependency disposition order.

5232. Maintenance Funding For the Placement

  1. Many relatives and suitable persons known to the child or family are eligible for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families () or other payment source on behalf of the child. The licensed care giver may select foster care or TANF or other payments on behalf of the child in care.
  2. If relatives or suitable persons are licensed as foster family homes they may receive state-funded or federally matched foster care payment as reimbursement for the care of the child.
  3. Since the amount of the foster care payment varies with the age of the child, it may be to the relative's advantage to select public assistance rather than foster care. However, the licensed care provider may choose either TANF or foster care assistance without regard to eligibility for federal matching funds for costs of foster care.
  4. The social worker follows the steps outlined in the Operations Manual, chapter 11000, on federal funding, for proper eligibility determination.
  5. Relatives may apply to be the representative payee for SSI/SSA benefits for a related child living with them. If DCFS holds a dependency, DSHS will usually remain payee until dependency is dismissed.

5240. Other Resources

A guide for Home Studies is included in the Interstate Compact handbook/practice guide. See also chapter 4000, section 4527, on placing with relatives.

5250. Caregiver Transportation and Mileage Reimbursement

Purpose Statement

Support caregivers* as important team members who have a vital role in meeting the individual needs of children. Establish requirements for reimbursing caregivers for mileage when transporting children in their care.

*Caregivers include: Foster parents, relatives, and suitable persons

Laws

WAC 388-25-0090 - Foster care providers to whom the department makes reimbursement for services

Admin-Policy-19-10-04 Mileage - Mileage Reimbursement

Policy
  1. CA reimburses mileage expenses to caregivers that meet the individual needs of children as identified in case planning for the child. The child's individual needs include safety, stability, education, or treatment.
  2. CA reimburses mileage expenses to caregivers for child related transportation for official state business when other resources are not available.
Procedures
  1. CA will reimburse caregivers for transportation necessary to meet the needs of the child as identified through ongoing case planning. Reimbursements may include but is not limited to the following:
    1. Visitation with parents
    2. Visits with siblings
    3. Court hearings
    4. Court-ordered activities
    5. Medical, dental, counseling sessions or WIC appointments
    6. Attendance at child specific meetings and at the request of CA staff.
    7. Child specific State approved caregiver trainings are:
      1. Trainings specific to the needs of the children in the home, and
      2. First aid and HIV/Blood Borne Pathogens training.
    8. Transportation to maintain educational stability or participation in school-related extracurricular activities
    9. Transportation by a respite provider to maintain continuity for the child's education or child care
    10. Transportation to and from respite, for mileage in excess of 10 miles each way
    11. Transportation to and from childcare, for mileage in excess of the caregiver's regular commute to work
    12. Transportation to and from the parent-child/sibling visit or appointment that is longer than 3 hours and the caregiver returns home
    13. Other transportation necessary to meet the needs of the child identified in ongoing case planning
  2. Transportation activities that are part of typical parenting and/or age development appropriate activities are not reimbursed. These activities include:
    1. Haircuts
    2. Sports events
    3. Vacation
    4. Birthday parties
    5. School except as indicated above
    6. Recreational activities, practices or lessons
    7. Shopping
  3. Reimburse mileage when it is necessary to address the specific needs of a child as identified in their Individual Service and Safety Plan, service plan, or case notes.
  4. Review and verify the caregiver's explanation and purpose for the trip by completing the following steps:
    1. Document in the (office use only) box the appropriate number that matches the explanation the caregiver documented on the mileage form.
    2. Approve and sign the Caregiver Monthly Mileage form(s) and submit them to your regional business office per local instructions.
    3. Important: Mileage submitted after 90 days can not be reimbursed.

  5. Obtain Area Administrator prior approval for exceptions to mileage reimbursement only to meet the individual safety and stability needs of a child.
  6. Contact caregiver and discuss reasons for denying any or part of the reimbursement request. (Contact may be by email or phone)
  7. Obtain payment approvals for the following:
    1. Transportation reimbursement requests up to $300.00 require social worker and supervisor approval.
    2. Transportation reimbursement requests $301.00 to $500.00 also require Area Administrator approval.
    3. Transportation reimbursement requests of over $500.00 also require Regional Business Manager approval.
    4. Send the approved Caregiver Monthly Mileage form to your Regional Fiduciary Specialist for payment.
Cultural Considerations

Family Centered Approach:
The way CA staff engages the family (or fails to engage the family) can directly affect the willingness of the family to work with other members of the department. The level of trust and integrity established between the agency and the family often has a direct relationship on the child being able to remain/reunify with his/her family. Everyone who meets the family needs to build positive relationships.

For example:
The definition of family varies from group to group. While the dominant culture has focused on the nuclear family, African Americans define family as a wide network of extended family, non-blood kin and community. Native American Indian families traditionally include at least three generations and multiple parental functions delegated among aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents and cousins. Different cultural groups also vary in their traditional practices and views of adoption.

Determine if there are cultural considerations that need to be addressed as part of the planning process, for example, obtaining information about protocols, such as, how to approach a family, use of a cultural elder, matriarch or patriarch or the need for a culturally appropriate support person.

Visual Aids
Forms and Tools

DSHS 07-090 Caregiver Monthly Mileage form

5300. ADOPTIVE FAMILY HOMES WAC 388-70-400-499

5310. Services to Adoptive Family Applicant

The adoption family worker provides services to adoptive family applicants. The adoption worker participates in efforts to recruit families who want to adopt children with special needs and who are in the care of DCFS. This activity includes both general recruitment and child specific recruitment. The adoption program manager and the program manager of the Washington Adoption Resource Exchange (WARE) are available to provide consultation and recruitment tools. The use of the word "family" in this section includes single parents.

5311. Recruitment

  1. General recruitment is designed to acquaint the public with issues involved with the adoption of children with special needs and to interest families in providing this type of service. The social worker may include the following types of activities in general recruitment:
    1. Convene public adoption interest meetings on a regular basis.
    2. Speak at various group meetings to discuss adoption.
    3. Develop a support group of current adoptive parents to participate in recruitment activities.
    4. Develop an adoption booth for placement at fairs, libraries, and other public places.
    5. Work with the media to present prepared Public Service Announcements.
  2. Child specific recruitment is designed to identify a family for a waiting child. The social worker may include the following activities:
    1. Present information about children from the WARE Bulletin and the Northwest Adoption Exchange () photo-listing to families expressing interest in adoption of a child with special needs.
    2. Show slide or video presentations of waiting children at public adoption interest meetings.
    3. Work with the media to develop regular features of waiting children.

5320. Adoption Services Intake

  1. All family inquiries regarding adoption shall be referred directly to the adoption worker.
    1. The worker will provide the caller with information on the adoption program of the agency.
    2. Information to be provided should include:
      1. The requirement that foster and adoptive applicants (including relatives) need to attend Orientation. Two parent households will be encouraged to have both parents attend the Orientation.
      2. Information on the dates, times and registration information.
      3. The significance of adoption in permanency planning for children in foster care and DCFS' position that the child is the primary client in adoption services.
      4. Adoption of children with special needs, including the types of children awaiting adoption through the department and the resources available to help families that adopt such children.
      5. The procedures for a family to follow in pursuing adoption through DCFS, the differences between foster parent, adoptive, and foster-adoptive placements.
      6. The legal risk involved in foster-adoptive placements and the placement of legally free children under appeal.
      7. The legal procedures involved in adoption, the roles and responsibilities of the family and the department in adoption.
    3. The adoption worker offers families the opportunity to discuss special needs adoption with the worker before they make the decision on whether to pursue this type of adoption.
    4. The worker may refer families that decide that they do not want to pursue special needs adoption to private CPAs providing services for families seeking to adopt readily placed children.
    5. If a family is inquiring about a specific child, the adoption worker informs the family that pursuing an adoptive home study does not guarantee their adoption of the identified child. The worker also solicits their interest in adoption of other special needs children.
  2. All departmental requests to initiate an adoptive home study for a foster parent, relative, or interstate adoptive placement must be referred to the adoption worker or unit.
    1. The adoption worker initiates contact with the family when:
      1. The request for a foster parent or relative home study is the result of the Initial Adoption Planning Review (the first adoption staffing).
      2. The request for a home study for an interstate adoptive placement has been approved by the Washington state ICPC program manager.
    2. The adoption worker makes contact with the child's worker to review information about the child being considered for adoptive placement.
  3. DCFS must not accept applications from persons:
    1. Receiving adoption services from another agency.
    2. Still in the process of finalizing the adoption of another child.

5330. Home Study Assessment for Foster, Adoptive and Relative Caregivers

Purpose Statement To define standardized requirements on preparing a comprehensive evaluation to determined the character, suitability and competence of potential foster, adoptive or relative caregivers for children and youth in out-of-home care.
Laws

RCW 26.33.180 Preplacement report required before placement with adoptive parents (Exception)

RCW 26.33.190 Preplacement report (Requirements & Fees)

Policy

Home Study Assessment for Foster, Adoptive and Relative Caregivers

  1. The home study is a written document assessing the character, suitability and competence of caregiver(s) to parent a child in out-of-home care and must assess:
    1. Home environment,
    2. Family life,
    3. Health and facilities; and
    4. Resources of the applicants.
  2. All home studies must include a:
    1. Completed criminal history and background check, Child Abuse and Neglect check in accordance with Operations Manual 5500.
    2. List of collateral contacts (ex. relatives, friends, databases) made to obtain information regarding applicant(s).
    3. Recommendation as to the appropriateness of the applicants to be foster, relative and/or adoptive parents.
    4. Completion of the CA Family Home Study Form (DSHS 10-043).
  3. Adoption home studies must also include:
    1. Documentation of the discussion and the applicants understanding of the six concepts of adoption RCW 26.33.190:
      1. Concept of adoption as a lifelong developmental process and commitment.
      2. Issues regarding an adoptees confusion on identify. Including grief and loss from the separation from the birth family.
      3. The importance of an adoptees relationship with siblings and the potential benefits gained from on-going contact with non-adopted siblings.
      4. How the family will discuss adoption with the adoptee and family.
      5. How the family will address an adoptees possible questions about birth parents and relatives.
      6. The importance of an adoptees racial, ethnic and cultural heritage.
    2. A signed certificate, specifying the training, and qualifications of the person preparing the report and verification that the following occurred:
      1. Discussion of the six concepts of adoption
      2. Prospective adoptive family has been provided with the Post Adoption Brochure DSHS 22-1211; and
      3. Adoption Support program Limitations (DSHS XX-XXX).

        NOTE: Information on program limitations must be provided in writing six months before adoption finalization.

    3. Documentation of consultation with the prospective family regarding the family wishes to be listed on the Washington Adoption Resource Exchange Recruitment website through the Northwest Adoption Exchange.
  4. All home studies must be approved, denied or withdrawn in writing and must be:
    1. Held strictly confidential unless a signed consent by the applicants has been received for adoptive and relative home studies.

      Note: Denied adoptive applicants do not have a right to an appeal process.

  5. Adoption home studies are updated when:
    1. There is a change within the family (e.g. divorce, someone new lives in the home, etc)
    2. The type of child placed in the home for adoption does not match with the type of child previously described.
    3. The family has previously adopted and is adopting a subsequent child/youth.
    4. A family has an approved home study with no placements for one year.
    5. For foster care licensing refer to Practices and Procedures 5100
Procedures
  1. See the Family Home Study Social Worker Guide for topics included in the home study document.
  2. Make a minimum of three contacts with the prospective family to complete the home study assessment. Contacts may include:
    1. Face to face meetings with the applicants either together or separately.
    2. Phone contact discussions regarding the home study (scheduling an appointment would not constitute a contact).
  3. Consultation with staff that have worked with and/or assessed an applicant previously can be used as a contact with the family.
  4. Review all required Family Home Study Forms submitted by applicants. Adoptive applicants are also required to submit additional documentation including:
    1. Adoptive Applicant Medical Report DSHS 1301.
    2. Written verification of marriages and divorces: a photocopy of marriage certificate and any divorce decrees.
    3. A completed financial form.
  5. Obtain a minimum of three personal references (either in writing using approved forms or by telephone). Only one reference person may be a relative unless one is an adult child not living in the home.
  6. Obtain a signed Authorization and request a copy if another agency or private person completed a home study and made recommendations regarding applicant.
  7. Verify applicant has completed a pre-service training. See Practices and Procedure Manual 5320 and Practices and Procedures 5100
  8. File adoptive home studies with the court in accordance with RCW 26.33.180
  9. Make a separate paper file for any home studies for foster care, adoptions and relatives.
  10. Updating an adoption home study must include the following:
    1. Background checks
    2. Medical reports
    3. Home study with document changes
    4. References
  11. Documents completed by applicants should be shared with other CA programs (excluding background check information) so families will not have to complete documents multiple times (Except as needed for a change in circumstances and updates).
Cultural Considerations

Family Centered Approach:
The way CA staff engages the family (or fails to engage the family) can directly affect the willingness of the family to work with other members of the department. The level of trust and integrity established between the agency and the family often has a direct relationship on the child being able to remain/reunify with his/her family. Everyone who meets the family needs to build positive relationships.

For example:
The definition of family varies from group to group. While the dominant culture has focused on the nuclear family, African Americans define family as a wide network of extended family, non-blood kin and community. Native American Indian families traditionally include at least three generations and multiple parental functions delegated among aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents and cousins. Different cultural groups also vary in their traditional practices and views of adoption.

Determine if there are cultural considerations that need to be addressed as part of the planning process, for example, obtaining information about protocols, such as, how to approach a family, use of a cultural elder, matriarch or patriarch or the need for a culturally appropriate support person.

Forms and Tools
  • Family Home Study Forms
    • Application for Foster Family Home Care Licenses, DSHS 10-354
    • Family Home Study, DSHS 10-043
    • Reference Cover Letter, DSHS 16-179
    • Reference Questionnaire, DSHS 15-286
    • Personal Information Form, DSHS 15-276
    • Adoptive Applicant Medical Report, DSHS 13-001
    • Marital History Form, DSHS 09-979
    • Financial Worksheet, DSHS 14-452
  • Go to the DSHS forms site to get these forms

  • Family Home Study Social Worker Guide
See Also
  • Operations Manual 5500 Criminal History and Child Abuse and Neglect History Checks for Out-of-Home Placement
Resources

5340. Native American Adoptive Families

For Native American/Alaskan Native children, refer to the Indian Child Welfare (ICW) Manual.

  1. Upon initial acceptance of a case for service, the social worker must seek to discover and document whether the involved child is of Indian ancestry. The social worker must do this in every case.
  2. Each time the case is transferred from one worker or program to another, the social worker receiving the case must confirm that verification of Indian ancestry has previously been completed.

5345. Indian Foster Homes

5346. Purpose and Scope

This policy applies to Children’s Administration (CA) Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) staff involved in placement of foster children. The intent is to clarify that DLR is responsible for verifying the Indian status of foster parents.

5347. Policy

  1. This policy requires the verification of Indian homes rather than self-identification of Indian status by foster parents. WAC 388-70-091 defines the term “Indian.” WAC 388-70-093 states that documented efforts shall be made to avoid separating the Indian child from his parents, relatives, tribe or cultural heritage.
  2. The Indian Child Welfare (ICW) Manual directs both DSHS and private agencies to verify American Indian Status of foster parents for the placement of Indian children. This policy directs DLR foster home licensors to verify American Indian status. DLR licensors are to follow the provisions set forth in the Indian Child Welfare Manual and in the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

5348. Definitions

  1. "Indian Foster home" is defined as a home in which at least one of the foster parents is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe, including Eskimo, Aleut, or other Alaska Native or eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe including Eskimo, Aleut, or other Alaska Native. The form for providing verification of Indian Status is located in Chapter 13 of the Indian Child Welfare Manual (DSHS form 15-128).
  2. "Canadian Indian Foster Home" is defined as a home in which at least one of the foster parents is a member of a Canadian First Nations Tribe, a Metis Community, or a nonstatus Indian community from Canada.
  3. "Unenrolled Indian Foster Home" is defined as a home in which at least one of the foster parents who does not meet the definition of an Indian foster home or Canadian Indian Foster home is considered to be Indian by a federally or non-federally recognized Indian tribe or off-reservation Indian/Alaska Native community organization regardless of enrollment or membership status.

5349. Procedures

  1. Verification of Indian Status
    1. DLR staff are to ensure compliance with Section 7.05, (B), (3 and 4) of the Indian Child Welfare Manual. The placement preference order for Indian children is not affected by this policy. See the Indian Child Welfare Manual Section 7.05 for policy regarding placement of Indian children.
    2. DLR will verify the Indian status of every foster home licensed. DLR will document whether the home has been verified as an “Indian Foster Home”, a “Canadian Indian Foster Home, or an “Unenrolled Indian Foster home”.
    3. The form for providing verification of Indian Status is located in Chapter 13 of the Indian Child Welfare Manual (DSHS form 15-128). Please use this verification form to identify foster parents as Indian. The home study and reassessment needs to document verification.
    4. Self-identification of Indian status is not sufficient to consider a foster parent Indian; rather, Indian status must be verified. If the foster parent cannot verify Indian status, the home study is to reflect non-verification even though the foster parent self-identifies as Indian. The home study should state this home has not been verified as an Indian foster home for ICW purposes.
    5. The foster home study shall address Indian status and include verification used to document Indian status in the homestudy.
    6. DLR will document verification of Indian Foster Home in CAMIS.
  2. Reporting requirements
    1. Self-identification of Indian status is not sufficient to consider a foster parent Indian. Reports shall not identify a foster home as an Indian foster home unless there is proper verification.
    2. Reports under DSHS Administrative Policy 7.01 are to reflect the number of Indian homes that have verified Indian status. Any reference to Indian homes in DLR reports must have verified the Indian status of the foster parents.

5350. WARE Withdrawal

  1. DCFS must withdraw families from WARE under the following circumstances, unless an exception is approved by the Regional Administrator:
    1. Upon the adoptive placement of a child with the family.
    2. Upon notice of the family's decision to receive adoption services from another agency or through an independent placement.
    3. Upon the family's physical move from the state.
    4. Upon the family or worker's decision that adoption is no longer an appropriate plan for the family.
    5. Upon the adoption worker's learning of the pregnancy of the potential adoptive mother, the worker may pend registration with the approval of the family.
  2. The adoption worker accomplishes withdrawal from WARE by submitting the Change of Status Report, DSHS 15-21. Families are also withdrawn when the DSHS 15-21 is forwarded to WARE by a child's worker at the time of placement. The family's worker must inform the family at any time the family is withdrawn from WARE.
  3. Families that want to be re-registered with WARE following withdrawal must reapply for adoption services and have their home study updated. The adoption worker then submits an updated Adoption Exchange Family Registration, DSHS 15-22.

5360. Placement Process

5361. Pre-Adoption Disclosure

Purpose Statement Provide prospective adoptive parent(s) with all known and available medical and social information regarding a child and birth family.
Laws

RCW 26.33.350

RCW 26.33.380

RCW 70.24.105


WAC 388-27-0090

WAC 388-27-0100

Policy
  1. CA must make reasonable efforts to disclose medical, education, family and social background history on the child and birth parents.
  2. Child and birth family information must be documented on the Child's Family & Medical Background Form (DSHS 13-041).
  3. CA must share non-identifying child and birth family information with a prospective adoptive parent/s prior to an adoptive placement.
  4. Information provided to a prospective family must be kept confidential per Operations Manual 3230 Confidentiality Policy and must be redacted unless the identifying information is known.
Procedures
  1. An adoptive placement occurs when the:
    1. Department has written to the prospective adoptive parents, expressly stating that the adoptive parents have been selected as the prospective adoptive home for a particular child, and

      Note: Once family is identified as the adoptive family CA must share all known information per procedure A.

    2. Prospective adoptive parent/s has an approved adoptive home study per PP-5330 Home Study Assessment for Foster, Adoptive and Relative Caregivers Policy; or
    3. Child is legally free; or
    4. The termination of Parental rights has been filed with the court.
  2. Medical and Education
    1. Provide known information to adoptive families that includes the following:
      1. Copies of all children's medical and educational information, including CHET, Passport, FCAP, etc.
      2. Note: Medical information must remain confidential per Case Services 4120 Confidentiality Policy.

      3. Birth parent health and education documentation includes the following:
        1. Redacted copies of the social history information in the psychological and drug/alcohol evaluation when there is social history information on the birth parent and/or the birth family.
      4. Sibling health and education information documented on the child's DSHS 13-041.
  3. Legal
    1. Provide legal documents that include the following:
      1. Current legal and placement information
      2. Most recent Guardian at Litem (GAL) report
      3. The most recent report to the court. The report to the court is shared with all Caregiver(s) outlined in Practices and Procedure 4413 Placement Services.
        1. Dependency Petition
        2. Termination Petition
      4. Court orders from the following court hearings:
        1. Dependency Findings of Facts and Conclusions
        2. Termination Orders Findings of Fact
        3. If an Appellate Court upheld termination of parental rights, note this on the 13-041 with the date of the decision.
  4. Other information to be disclosed includes:
    1. One copy of all redacted case notes beginning with CA's involvement with the child to present
    2. Referral history beginning with CA's involvement with the child to present

NOTE: Throughout the life of a case some information is already shared with the caregiver. The items identified in this policy must be provided again for pre-adoption disclosure.

Cultural Considerations

Family Centered Approach:
The way CA staff engages the family (or fails to engage the family) can directly affect the willingness of the family to work with other members of the department. The level of trust and integrity established between the agency and the family often has a direct relationship on the child being able to remain/reunify with his/her family. Everyone who meets the family needs to build positive relationships.

For example:
The definition of family varies from group to group. While the dominant culture has focused on the nuclear family, African Americans define family as a wide network of extended family, non-blood kin and community. Native American Indian families traditionally include at least three generations and multiple parental functions delegated among aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents and cousins. Different cultural groups also vary in their traditional practices and views of adoption.

Determine if there are cultural considerations that need to be addressed as part of the planning process, for example, obtaining information about protocols, such as, how to approach a family, use of a cultural elder, matriarch or patriarch or the need for a culturally appropriate support person.

5362. Placement Selection and Decision

  1. The social worker evaluates families referred for a legally free child or for a foster-adoptive placement to determine which of the families can best meet the needs of the child using the following criteria:
    1. The family's ability to meet the physical, emotional and mental needs of the child.
    2. The compatibility between the child's personal characteristics and the expectations of all members of the adoptive family.
    3. The specific experiences and/or training the family has had which prepares them to provide for the special needs of the child.
    4. The resources in the family's community which are available to meet the special needs of the child.
    5. The degree to which the family is willing to initiate and participate in medical and/or therapeutic treatment.
  2. The professional staff of the CA office with administrative responsibility for the child makes the final decision on placement of a child with an adoptive family. The child's worker makes the final placement selection for families referred from the WARE and other referral sources in conjunction with the CWS supervisor. The CA professional staff considers the following criteria:
    1. The child's attachment with the foster family and length of time in the foster care placement.
    2. The ability of the adoptive family to meet the special needs of the child.
    3. The ability of the adoptive family to meet the cultural, linguistic, and religious needs of the child. An adoptive family need not be of the same ethnic background as the child in order to meet the ethnic or cultural needs of the child. Unless CA staff identifies a compelling reason, the social worker will not match children on the basis of race to adoptive parents.
    4. Willingness to provide long-term contact with siblings who may be placed elsewhere, appropriate birth relatives, former foster families, or other individuals who may have prior relationships with the child.
    5. Whether or not the adoptive family is a birth relative. If a relative, the following factors shall also be evaluated:
      1. The relatives' previous relationship with the child.
      2. The relatives' ability to protect the child, if necessary, from the parents of origin while avoiding portraying them in an unnecessarily negative manner.
  3. For foster-adoptive placements, the foster-adoptive family shall sign a permanency planning placement agreement. See section 45352.

5363. Visitation

The child's foster parents may be involved in planning and implementing plans.

  1. The purposes of visitation include:
    1. To initiate contact between the prospective adoptive family and the child and to observe the relationship as it develops.
    2. To allow the prospective adoptive parents and child(ren) an opportunity to begin to know each other, to form an attachment, and to grieve the losses of the prior relationships that are ending.
    3. To allow the prospective adoptive family, the adoption worker, the child, and the child's social worker an opportunity to make a continuing evaluation regarding suitability of the placement.
  2. The child's worker:
    1. Selects the location of the visitation.
    2. Accompanies the child on the initial visit.
    3. Discusses each visit with the child and family after they have occurred.
    4. Decides at each point whether to proceed with visitation and/or placement in consultation with the family and the child.
  3. The length of visits and total amount of time between first meeting and placement will vary. The age and developmental level of the child(ren), their attachment to the foster family, and their emotional readiness to move are all factors to consider. A typical placement transition may include three to five pre-placement visits, with each visit increasing in length until child is actually placed. Open contact between the new family and the family the child is leaving should occur whenever possible and when in the child's best interest.

5370. Post-Placement Support Services

  1. The purpose of post-placement services is to support continuing placement of the child in the family by providing needed services or referrals.
  2. The assigned social worker provides on-going casework supervision of the adoptive placement and coordinates needed support services for the family and/or child. Post-placement support services may include the following:
    1. Casework services designed to assist the family and child during the initial adjustment period. Contacts shall be maintained, at a minimum, on a monthly basis and may be face-to-face or telephone. The social worker must document these activities in the case SER.
    2. Information and referral to community resources.
    3. Formation of and leadership in adoption support groups for parents of adoptive children.
    4. If an SSI application has not been considered and seems appropriate, the social worker refers the case to the regional federal funding unit, SSI facilitator. An SSI allowance with an application prior to the petition to finalize adoption can mean IV-E funding of otherwise state-funded adoption support.
    5. The assigned social worker provides the family with a copy of the Adoption Support Brochure and asks the family if they are able to adopt without adoption support. The worker must note the family’s response in the child’s file. The worker must complete and submit the family's application for adoption support and adoption non-recurring cost programs to the regional adoption support program manager. The social worker must be sure that the family has a signed adoption support agreement and adoption non-recurring cost agreement before finalizing the adoption.
  3. At the time when the family, the child, and the adoption worker mutually agree that finalization of the adoption is in the best interest of all persons involved, the adoption worker encourages the family to retain an attorney to file the petition for adoption. An adoptive parent may petition to adopt without an attorney when there is no need for DCFS to release confidential information; for example, the adoption of an older child when the names of the birth parents are already known to the adopting parents.
  4. An attorney retained by the adoptive family files the adoption petition. The adoption worker provides the attorney with the necessary documents and information when the worker is satisfied that finalization is in the best interest of the child and the family. The documents include:
    1. A certified copy of the legal order of termination of parental rights.
    2. Release and Consent to Adoption signed by the Regional Administrator or designee or information indicating where to obtain consent if that responsibility does not lie with the Regional Administrator.
    3. Adoption consent from children 14 years of age and older.
    4. A completed Application for Adoption Re-Registration, DSHS 9-465, for issuance of the child's revised birth certificate.
    5. The date the pre-placement report was filed with the court.
    6. A copy of the final signed Adoption Support Agreement, if applicable.
    7. A request for a copy of the certified decree of adoption after finalization.
  5. The assigned social worker completes court work that includes:
    1. Dependency reviews until adoption is finalized.
    2. Individual Service and Safety Plans.
    3. Post-placement report.
    4. Notification of GAL and juvenile court that adoption is finalized and obtain dismissal of dependency order.

5371. Disruption Services

Disruption services are designed to develop a new placement plan for a child when it becomes evident, prior to finalization of an adoption, that the adoptive placement should not continue.

5380. Post-Placement Report

  1. The court, after accepting a petition for adoption, orders a post-placement report to advise the court as to the propriety of the adoption.
    1. The department shall be named to complete a post-placement report for a child for whom it provided post-placement services.
    2. The adoption worker completes the Adoption Data Card.
    3. The adoption worker completes the Waiver of Notice of Further Hearing, DSHS 9-54, or the Acknowledgment of Notice and Declaration of Intent Not to Appear, DSHS 9-56, provided the departmental recommendation is positive and the parental rights of the child to be adopted have been terminated.
  2. If the post-placement report is negative, the department shall request representation by the Office of Attorney General (or local prosecutor, where applicable) at a hearing on the matter. In this case, the DSHS 9-54 and the DSHS 9-56 shall not be included with the post-placement report.

5390. Post-Finalization

5391. Post-Decree Action

See chapter 4000, section 4740, for actions to take following issuance of the final decree of adoption.

5392. Post-Adoption Services

  1. Post-adoption services are provided to the adoptive family after finalization of the adoption when those services are needed to support the adoption and to identify community resources necessary to maintain the placement.
  2. Non-identifying information contained in the child's archived record may be obtained for medical or emotional treatment when requested by a treating professional, accompanied by a signed release from the adoptive family or adult adoptee. All requests shall be sent to the Adoption Program Manager in Olympia.
  3. For a Native American child, the family and/or child shall be informed that the Local Indian Child Welfare Advisory Committee (LICWAC) and/or local Indian consultant are available for consultation related to the adoption.
  4. Adoptees seeking identifying information will be requested to consult with the clerk of the court granting the final decree. The court may, at its discretion, issue an order directing the opening of any records of the adoption.

5400. CHILD CARE

Purpose Statement To provide safe, quality child care to meet the needs of the family, and promote safety, permanency and well-being.
Laws

WAC 388-165-210

WAC 388-165-108

WAC 388-165-235

Policy
  1. Prior to authorizing payment for child care, social workers must verify:
    1. The child has an open CA case; and
    2. The child is 12 years old or younger, or is under age 19 with verified special needs per WAC 388-165-210; and
    3. The child's case plan identifies the need for child care and is based on the needs of the family.
  2. Social workers must verify that child care services are provided by a qualified provider per WAC 388-165-108 and WAC 388-165-235.
  3. Planned Terminations - Social workers must provide a verbal and/or written notice (email or letter) to the child care provider at least ten (10) calendar days prior to the planned termination date.
  4. Unplanned Terminations - In the event of an unplanned termination (e.g., child's placement changes or court order), social workers must notify the provider as soon as possible and reimburse providers for child care services provided.
Procedures
  1. Child Care for Children Placed in Out-of-Home Care

    The social worker will:

    1. Use Early Head Start, Head Start or Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), when available, as the first option over CA funded child care for children birth-5 years old.
    2. Authorize funding for part-time or full-time child care (depending on need) for:
      1. Caregivers who have on-going commitments, such as part-time or full-time employment, or continuing education to maintain employment.
      2. Extra-ordinary circumstances that require child care (e.g. a child enrolled in a child care program who needs continuity of care between placements or short-term employment transition of caregiver).

      Note: CA is responsible to provide child care for children with open CA cases not the Economic Services Administration/Community Services Office (CSO) Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) program.

    3. Not authorize child care funding for:
      1. A two-parent caregiver family when one parent is employed and the other parent is not employed and at home.
      2. A two-parent caregiver family when both parents are not employed and at home.
      3. Caregivers requesting child care for placement stabilization (in these cases, respite or other services should be offered).
    4. Develop a Child Care Program Agreement form (DSHS 15-397), obtain the caregiver's signature and include the agreement in the case plan.

      Note: This agreement requires the caregiver to notify the social worker of any changes in status that might warrant a change in child care authorization (e.g. employed to unemployed).

  2. Child Care for Children Living in Their Own Home

    The social worker will:

    1. Only approve child care funding for children living in their own homes when necessary to address safety issues or prevent out of home placement.
    2. Use Early Head Start, Head Start or Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), when available, as the first option over CA funded childcare for children birth-5 years old.
    3. Develop a Child Care Program Agreement form (DSHS 15-397), obtain the caregiver's signature on the agreement and include the agreement in the case plan.

      Note: This agreement requires the caregiver to notify the social worker of any changes in status that might warrant a change in child care authorization (e.g. employed to unemployed).

  3. Payment for Licensed Child Care

    The social worker will only authorize payment for licensed child care when one of the following criteria is met:

    1. The facility providing the center-based child care program is licensed by Department of Early Learning (DEL) or the equivalent agency in another state.
    2. The licensed family home providing the child care is licensed by DEL or the equivalent agency in another state
    3. If a child care program or family home is exempted from the licensing requirements by DEL (military, public schools or Tribal Nations), the home or center must be certified by DEL or equivalent agency in another state.
  4. Payment for Unlicensed Family, Friends, and Neighbors (FFN) Child Care

    The social worker will:

    1. Authorize payment for child care services to an unlicensed home only when the provider is:
      1. A person unrelated to the child providing child care in the child's own home; or
      2. A relative (specified below), who lives outside the child's home, and provides child care in the child's home or in the relative's own home. Approved relative relations, includes:
        1. Grandmother or grandfather
        2. Aunt or uncle
        3. Cousin
        4. Adult siblings not living with the child's parent(s).
    2. Consider the family's culture, which may support a broader definition for relative. Authorizations for other degrees of relationship are approved on a case-by-case basis, and may include, but are not limited to, great and great-great grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.
    3. Not authorize child care payment when provided by the following relatives:
      1. Father or Mother
      2. Siblings living with either parent, or siblings under the age of 18
      3. Stepfather or stepmother,
      4. Step siblings living with either parent, or step-siblings under the age of 18.
    4. Verify and document the following to approve the unlicensed FFN provider:
      1. The age, maturity, and suitability of the caregiver. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older, and of sufficient physical, emotional, and mental health to meet the needs of the child.
      2. Completion of a background check per policy (5513 BCCU Background Check Policy).
    5. Obtain the parent/guardian signature on the Child Care Program Agreement (DSHS 15-397) and follow the requirements of WAC 388-165-235.
  5. Planned Terminations - Licensed Child Care Center, licensed family home or unlicensed Family, Friends, and Neighbors

    The social worker will:

    1. Provide child care providers with notice of termination at least ten (10) calendar days prior to the planned termination date. Notice of termination will be provided in one of the following ways:
      1. Verbally
      2. Written notice using the DSHS form 10-433 Child Care Planned Termination; or
      3. e-mail (The provider email list is posted on Children's Administration intranet under Policy tab on the CA home page)
    2. Document all verbal, written or e-mail notice of terminations in FamLink case notes.
    3. Ensure payment authorization in FamLink is terminated and document termination in a case note in FamLink within three days of the termination.
  6. Unplanned Terminations - Licensed child care center, Licensed family home and Unlicensed Family, Friends, and Neighbor (e.g. unplanned placement change or court order) The social worker will:
    1. Notify the provider as soon as possible of the termination and document all verbal, written or e-mail notice of unplanned termination in FamLink case notes.
    2. Reimburse the provider for any child care services provided in the event of an unplanned termination.

      Note: Providers may request reasonable compensation when they have incurred costs in anticipation of providing ongoing child care (e.g. extra staffing for a special needs child) to a child who has been subject to an unplanned termination.

    3. Ensure payment authorization in FamLink is terminated and document termination in a case note in FamLink within three days of the termination.
Cultural Considerations

Family Centered Approach:
The way CA staff engages the family (or fails to engage the family) can directly affect the willingness of the family to work with other members of the department. The level of trust and integrity established between the agency and the family often has a direct relationship on the child being able to remain/reunify with his/her family. Everyone who meets the family needs to build positive relationships.

For example:
The definition of family varies from group to group. While the dominant culture has focused on the nuclear family, African Americans define family as a wide network of extended family, non-blood kin and community. Native American Indian families traditionally include at least three generations and multiple parental functions delegated among aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents and cousins. Different cultural groups also vary in their traditional practices and views of adoption.

Determine if there are cultural considerations that need to be addressed as part of the planning process, for example, obtaining information about protocols, such as, how to approach a family, use of a cultural elder, matriarch or patriarch or the need for a culturally appropriate support person.

Forms and Tools
  • Child Care Planned Termination form DSHS 10-433
  • The provider email list is posted on Children's Administration intranet under the Policy tab on the CA home page
  • Child Care Program Agreement (DSHS 15-397)

5420. Licensed Child Day Care Providers

Supportive to DCFS client families, child day care licensing is administered by the DLR Such facilities include:

  1. Child Care Center-A Child Care Center cares for 13 or more children in an out-of-home facility and must be licensed by DSHS.
  2. Family Child Care Home-A Family Child Care Home cares for up to 12 children in a family home and must be licensed by DSHS.

5500. INDIVIDUALS ENGAGED BY CA

5510. Service Description

Volunteers, students, interns, and any other individual, whether paid or unpaid, engaged by CA to provide care, supervision, or treatment for children shall be assessed for appropriateness and capability. Hourly respite care providers who support foster parents are included in this group.

5520. Eligibility

Prospective employees or volunteers will have appropriately clear criminal history and CA record checks as well as the necessary skills and suitability to provide care, supervision, or treatment for children for whom the agency is responsible. Those individuals who will be transporting clients must possess a valid driver's license recognized by the state of Washington along with adequate insurance coverage.

5530. Procedures

  1. The social worker or Community Resource Program Manager must have the applicant complete a Criminal History and Background Inquiry form, DSHS 14-239, and submit it according to procedures outlined in the Operations Manual, chapter 5000, section 5500. As part of the criminal background check, the worker must contact local law enforcement agencies, including tribal police if the person resides or has resided on an Indian reservation or is known to be or may be affiliated with a particular Tribe.
  2. The worker completes a review of CA records that may exist, including a CAMIS inquiry.
  3. Local or regional procedures may designate a specific person other than the social worker to complete the above steps.
  4. Approved applicants for volunteer or paid positions shall complete any required documentation applicable to the service they are providing.

5540. Other Resources

There are several handbooks and pamphlets published regarding the use of volunteers in DSHS. Some regional and local offices have Community Resource Program Managers. Respite care providers for foster family homes are often the responsibility of the licenser.

5600. INTERSTATE COMPACT

  1. Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) Handbook, issued by CA, contains the steps necessary for the social worker to follow to place a dependent child into another state when dependency will be maintained in a Washington court with supervision of the placement required.
  2. The assigned social worker also must do home studies on parents, relatives, foster parents, and adoptive homes for placement of dependent children from other states as part of the ICPC process. Criminal history checks are required for all ICPC home studies. If the home study is positive and placement is made, the assigned DCFS social worker provides supervision as long as the dependency remains in effect in the sending state. Refer to the ICPC Handbook for additional procedures.

5650. Considerations & Notification for Placement Moves

Purpose Statement Children's Administration supports early concurrent planning and the permanent placement of children by minimizing placements moves for children in out of home care, partnering with caregivers to support timely permanency and shared decision making.
Laws

RCW 74.13.300

RCW 74.14A.020

Policy
  1. CA staff must minimize placement moves for children in out of home care. When determining if a child should be moved, CA staff must consider the safety of the child, the child's permanent plan and the child's best interest.
  2. Caregivers must be notified when the decision is made to move a child. Notification must be at least five (5) days prior to moving a child. When a child must move prior to the five (5) day notice, notice must be given to the caregiver as soon as possible.
Procedures
  1. Prior to requesting a placement change for a child in out of home care, the CA staff must complete the following steps:
    1. Consult with his/her supervisor regarding recommendations to move a child.
    2. Follow procedures in the Indian Child Welfare Manual if the child is an Indian child
    3. Conduct a Family Team Decision Meeting (FTDM) or Shared Planning Meeting to discuss:
      1. If the placement is in the child's best interest
      2. What supports could be used to sustain the placement so that it can be a permanent placement resource or until the child/youth is placed with a permanent family
      3. How the placement move will support the achievement of the child's permanent plan.
  2. CA staff will notify caregivers when a decision is made to move a child. At least five (5) days prior to moving the child, CA staff must provide written notification of the child's proposed move to the current caregiver by completing and sending DSHS 27-082 unless:
    1. The child has resided in the placement for less than 90 days
    2. Safety concerns prevent the child from remaining in the current placement
    3. The child is being returned home
    4. A court order requires an immediate change in placement
    5. The child is residing in a receiving home or a group home.
  3. NOTE: When a child must move prior to the five (5) day written notice, notice must be given to the family as soon as possible.

  4. When a caregiver is requesting the immediate removal of a child, CA staff will complete the following steps:
    1. Conduct a Family Team Decision Meeting (FTDM) or Shared Planning Meeting to discuss:
      1. If the placement is in the child's best interest
      2. Possible supports to create a permanent placement resource or until the child/youth is placed with a permanent family
      3. How the placement move will support achievement of the child's permanent plan.
    2. Explore services available to stabilize the child in the current placement, including:
      1. Respite
      2. Therapeutic Intervention
      3. Other stabilization services and supports.
    3. Review relatives, non-related kin (suitable persons), and siblings' placements as possible placement resources.
  5. CA staff will document all child placement decisions and discussions in the electronic case file.
Forms and Tools

Five Day Notification to Move (DSHS 27-082)

5700. ADOPTION SUPPORT

5710. Service Description

DCFS, under authority of chapter 74.13 RCW, provides post adoption assistance to prospective adoptive parents to enable them to adopt hard-to-place children. The assistance can take several forms, including medical coverage and financial assistance to meet the special needs of these children.

5720. Eligibility

  1. Not all children with special needs or conditions are eligible for adoption support. To be eligible, a child must meet all of the conditions described below:
    1. Is residing in or likely to be placed in out-of-home care.
    2. Is hard to place for adoption as demonstrated by registration with WARE for 90 days or longer without an appropriate family being identified. Reasonable efforts have been made to place the child for adoption without adoption support services.
    3. The social worker must fully document pre-existing special needs conditions and efforts to place the child without adoption support before the child’s registration with adoption support. AC4F-PIQ-89-02
  2. In cases of adoption by foster parents, the following eligibility criteria must be met in order to establish the child as hard to place. However, the child does not need to be registered with adoption exchanges if the following apply. The child must:
    1. Have been in the foster parents' home for at least six months prior to becoming legally free.
    2. Have close emotional ties to the current foster family which, if severed, could cause emotional damage to the child.
    3. The foster family must have been identified as the adoptive family of choice by the agency having custody of the child.
  3. Has one or more of the following documented special conditions that creates a barrier to adoption and contributes to the child being hard to place for adoption:
    1. Physical or mental disability.
    2. Emotional/psychiatric disturbance.
    3. Ethnic background, including race, color, and/or language.
    4. Age (six years or older).
    5. A diagnosed medical condition which is chronic and/or severe and/or a diagnosed medical risk condition.
    6. Member of a large sibling group (three or more); or if a sibling group of two, at least one sibling was previously adopted by the family or one of the siblings being adopted is over six years of age).
  4. Is legally free for adoption. ACYF-PIQ-82-18
  5. Is seventeen years of age or younger at the time the agreement is signed. RCW 74.13.109
  6. Adoption is the most appropriate plan.
  7. Adoption support shall not continue beyond the adopted child’s 18th birthday, becomes emancipated, dies, or otherwise ceases to need support, unless the adoption support program manager determines that continuing dependency after the child reaches 18 years of age warrants the continuation of support.
  • Adoptive family income is not a factor in determining a child's eligibility for adoption support services. ACYF-PIQ-90-02
  • Funding sources for adoption support will differ according to the funding source available to the child. See the Operations Manual, chapter 11000, related to determining financial eligibility.
    1. Federal matching funds are used for maintenance for children who are found IV-E eligible.
    2. Federal matching for Title XIX (Medicaid) and Title XX (social services) are available to all children eligible for adoption support.
    3. State-only moneys are used for a child who is not eligible for federally matched funds and for those agreed-to services which are not matched by federal funds.
  • If the adoptive parents are unable to continue providing for day-to-day care of the child, the adoption support agreement is no longer in effect and the program services are no longer available to the child. ACYF-PIQ-84-4
  • Biological parents whose rights have been terminated, but who later adopt their biological child, are not eligible for adoption support. ACYF-PIQ-86-05
  • See chapter 4000, section 4517, for Medicaid eligibility for children in the Adoption Support Program.
  • 5721. Payment Determination and Standard Adjustments

    The regional adoption support program manager considers the factors outlined in the CA Case Services Policy Manual, chapter 9000, section 9200, when setting the amount of any payment or payments or in adjusting standards.

    5730. Procedures

    5731. Application

    1. The prospective adoptive family must apply for adoption support services prior to finalization of the adoption. The adoptive family must submit a separate application for each child being adopted. The terms of the agreement are negotiated between the adoptive family and the social worker, with final approval authority resting with the regional adoption support program manager. See section 5732. The application includes:
      1. The social worker and the family initiate the process by completing the application, DSHS 10-62 and DSHS 10-62A, together. The agreed upon payment is expected to combine with the parent's resources to cover the ordinary and special needs of the child for an extended period of time.
      2. Monthly cash payments to the family cannot exceed the established regular and family foster home special rates. The specific amount of the payment will be determined by an evaluation of the difference between the costs of the child's documented needs and the family, community and state resources available to meet those needs. ACYF-PIQ-86-05
      3. If requested by the social worker or the regional adoption support program manager, the adoptive parent must submit a copy of the family's most recent Federal Income Tax Return, IRS 1040, with the application for adoption support. RCW 74.13.121
    2. The worker submits the application, DSHS 10-62 and 10-62A, to the adoption support program manager for approval. In addition to the two application forms, the completed packet includes the following:
      1. Child's Registration, DSHS 10-061(X), with a brief summary of the child's history, behavior, and primary reasons for the adoption support request.
      2. Reports documenting the child's special need or conditions and diagnosis, including any pre-existing and anticipated medical needs/prognosis. ACYF-PIQ-89-02
      3. A copy of the Adoption Planning Review, DSHS 15-174.
      4. Adoption Support Monitoring Schedule, DSHS 14-319, indicating the child's funding source for adoption support services.
      5. SSI award letter, if applicable.
      6. Orders of termination of parental rights.
      7. If an open adoption agreement exists, a copy is to be included.
    3. The regional adoption support program manager must process only completed application packets within 30 days of receipt. The manager shall immediately return incomplete packets to the sender for completion and re-submittal.

    5732. Initial Agreement

    An initial agreement for adoption support services must be signed by all parties to the agreement prior to finalization of the adoption. If this does not occur, the family will be ineligible for adoption support except as provided in sections 5734 and 5735, below.

    1. Upon approval of the application, the regional adoption support program manager issues an agreement to the adoptive parents and sends a copy to the service worker, thereby notifying the worker of the agreement and authorized services.
    2. If, after reviewing the agreement, the family has questions or wishes to seek changes in the agreement, the family may contact the regional adoption support program manager.
    3. If the family finds the agreement acceptable, the family must sign, date, and return the full agreement to the regional adoption support program manager. The agreement becomes a binding contract only after all parties to the agreement, including the designated agency persons, have signed. RCW 74.13.124
    4. Adoption support services must be continued regardless of where the family resides.

    5733. Non-Recurring Costs Agreement

    1. Certain non-recurring adoption expenses may be reimbursed by adoption support. Reimbursement may be made for the following:
      1. Adoption fees.
      2. Court costs.
      3. Revised birth certificates.
      4. Attorney fees.
      5. Costs related to the adoption home study, required health and psychological examinations, placement supervision, and pre-placement visits (lodging, meals, transportation, etc.).
    2. These costs are available to any family adopting an eligible special needs child, with no income requirement. Non-recurring adoption expenses may be available to children not receiving adoption support services if the child otherwise qualifies. 45 CFR 1356.41(d) and (f)
    3. The prospective adoptive parent(s) must submit a separate application specific to non-recurring costs reimbursement prior to finalization of the adoption. Claims must be filed within two years of the date of the final decree of adoption 45 CFR 1356.41(c)
    4. The regional program manager issues a separate non-recurring costs agreement for each child being adopted specific to the costs of that child's adoption. This agreement must be signed by all parties to the agreement prior to finalization. Without this signed agreement, the costs cannot be reimbursed to the family. This agreement is limited to $1500 per child and is paid on a reimbursement basis following finalization. 45 CFR 1356.41(f)

    5734. Reconsideration

    1. The department may, within available funds, provide limited adoption support through a reconsideration process if the child met the criteria for ongoing adoption support in Washington state at the time the adoption was finalized. The regional adoption support program manager uses documented evidence available at the time of the adoption to make this determination.
    2. The child and the child's family must be current residents of the state of Washington.
    3. The family must complete the application for adoption support reconsideration and provide the adoption support program manager with requested information.
    4. Adoption support assistance must be defined in a reconsideration agreement and is limited to counseling and medical services for corrective/rehabilitative services. Maximum allowable payment per child is $20,000 under Medicaid.

    5735. Eligibility for Adoption Support after Adoption

    For adoptions occurring in or after the year 1981, certain adopted children may be eligible for subsidy after finalization. The determination of eligibility is based upon the extenuating circumstances at the time of the adoption and other qualifying factors. The child's eligibility for federal funding at the time of adoption will need to be established based upon the information in the archived file. If a family inquires about adoption support for an adopted child, the social worker refers them to the regional adoption support program manager. ACFY-PIQ-92-02

    5736. Review of Support Payments

    1. At least once every five years, the regional adoption support program manager reviews the need of any adoptive parent or parents receiving continuing adoption support or the need of any parent who is to receive more than one lump sum payment where such payments are to be spaced more than one year apart. RCW 74.13.118
    2. When the regional adoption support program manager deems changed conditions, including variations in medical opinions, prognosis, and costs, to warrant such action, the program manager must make appropriate adjustments in payments. The program manager bases adjustments on the needs of the child, the adoptive parents’ income, resources, and expenses for the care of the child or other members of the family. These needs may include medical and/or hospitalization expense not otherwise covered by or subject to reimbursement from insurance or other sources of financial assistance. RCW 74.13.118
    3. A parent who is party to an agreement may at any time, in writing, request a review of the amount of any payment or the level of continuing payments.
      1. The regional adoption support program manager begins the review not later than 30 days from the receipt of such request.
      2. The program manager may make any adjustment retroactive to the date the request was received by the department.
      3. If the program manager does not act on the request within 30 days of receipt by the department, the parent may invoke their right to a hearing under RCW 74.13.127. RCW 74.13.118
    4. So long as the adoptive parent is receiving adoption support services he or she shall, upon request, file with the regional adoption support program manager his or her federal income tax return. RCW 74.13.121