It’s time for Change…Children can’t wait!

Fostering Change WA urges the Legislature to enact law that achieves timely permanency for children in out-of-home care, considering the long-term effects of additional trauma caused by extended timelines.

As foster parents in Washington State, we believe that it is critical for all stakeholders to understand the need for a child-centric, trauma-informed foster care system. How we support and protect foster children has lifelong consequences to both individuals and our society as a whole.

#1 Permanency

Fully fund the Relative Search Unit Within the Program Budget

  • Relative Search Unit will secure kin placement within the first six months of dependency in order to greatly reduce unnecessary additional trauma of moving placements after stabilizing in a foster home.

  • Relative Search Unit has been operating with scarce human resources resulting in extended time in care for children seeking permanency.

#2 Attachment

Include attachment and bonding considerations when making permanency decisions

  • Adapt and amend RCW 13.34.130(3) and RCW 13.34.065(5)(c) to include a formal bonding assessment when considering the permanency plan for children in care after the first permanency plan hearing, which typically happens after 12 months of dependency.

  • Expand the ‘foster-family home’ definition found in RCW 74.15.020(1)(e) to include ‘fictive-kin home’. Foster-family homes would receive the same consideration for permanent placement as relative caregivers for the child(ren) maintained in their home for at least 12 months.

#3 Systemize Trauma Informed Care

All professionals and caregivers will receive mandatory evidenced-based, trauma-informed training that is derived from current research

  • All caregivers and professionals, including Judges/Commissioners, attorneys, CASA’s, DCYF staff, CPA staff, and all other contractors will receive Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) trainings.

  • Parent-child visitation shall be therapeutic in nature, recommendations by that child’s primary care or mental health provider will be taken into consideration. For youth in which ongoing parent-child visitation is not recommended to occur initially, trauma-informed individual and family counseling should be made readily available.

#4 Evidence Based Research

Bring the Washington State Child Welfare system in-line with evidence-based practices

  • DCYF, along with State Representatives and child welfare partners, will form a task force dedicated to compiling data from experts and will research nationwide approaches to child welfare in order to create scientific and evidence based policies that are rooted in attachment theory, child resilience, and are centered on a child’s well-being.