FOSTER PARENTS are a vital component to a healthy foster care system.  Since 2010, Washington State has lost over one thousand foster families and now our foster system is in a state of crisis. This is adversely affecting thousands of vulnerable children in the state.  Without strong, knowledgeable and supported foster families the whole system breaks down. The heart of the Department and most foster parents is to help and support children and help families in crisis.  For foster families, this means expanding the definition of a nuclear family, advocating for normalcy in dependency cases and addressing trauma through parenting techniques, counselors and therapists.  In order to systematically support foster parents who are caring for these vulnerable children, the department must respect them as a valuable member of the team and consider their insight when making decisions in dependency cases.  Fostering Change has a vision for a foster care system where the foster parent community is empowered, supported and recognized as partners, creating a solid foundation where children can thrive.