4526. Licensed Foster Care and Licensed Kinship Care: Placement and Support

Original Date: 

Revised Date: October 20, 2022

Sunset Review Date: October 31, 2026

Approved by:  Frank Ordway, Chief of Staff

Policy Update Memo Effective July 1, 2023


Foster parents and licensed kinship caregivers have a vital role in meeting the individual needs of children who are in the care and custody of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). This policy addresses placement and supports for licensed caregivers to provide for children’s safety, permanency and well-being. 


This policy applies to Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) employees.  


RCW 13.34.096  Right to be heard—Notice.

RCW 13.34.130  Order of disposition for a dependent child, alternatives-Petition seeking termination of parent-child relationship-Placement with relatives, foster family home, group care facility, or other suitable persons-Placement of an Indian child in out-of-home care-Contact with siblings.

RCW 13.34.260  Foster home placement-Parental preferences-Foster parent contact with birth parents encouraged.

RCW 74.13.031  Duties of Department

RCW 74.13.335  Reimbursement-Property Damage

RCW 74.14A.020  Services for emotionally disturbed and mentally

ill children, potentially dependent children, and families-in-conflict.

RCW 74.13.290  Fewest Possible Placements for children-Preferred Placements

RCW 74.13.332  Rights of Foster Parents

RCW 74.15.020  Definitions

RCW 74.13.710  Prudent Parent Standards


  1. Placing with Licensed Foster Parents and Licensed Kinship Caregivers
    ​DCFS caseworkers must:
    1. Place children with a foster parent only if a licensed or unlicensed kinship caregiver or suitable adult is not available. 
    2. Follow the Notification of Court Hearings and Information Sharing with Out-of-Home Caregivers policy and:
      1. Notify caregivers of:
        1. The date of court hearings.
        2. The opportunity to provide a caregiver report to the court before the hearing.
        3. Their right to attend and be heard at court hearings.
      2. Share all known safety, permanency and well-being information including health and education information about the child only with the child's caregiver.
    3. Follow the DCYF Administrative 6.04 Supporting LGBTQIA+ Individuals policy when considering placement of children and youth who are exploring or identify as LGBTQIA+.
    4. Collect and document child-identifying information within five business days of a child entering out-of-home care according to Emergency Planning for Children in Out-of-Home Care policy.
    5. Contact the caregiver within three calendar days following placement to ask how the child is adjusting.
    6. If the child will be moving to a different placement, provide notice to the caregiver according to the guidelines in Placement Moves policy.
    7. Conduct visits with children and caregivers monthly. 
  2. Authorizing Foster Care Payment
    1. DCFS caseworkers must document the location of a child using the Child Locator Application within three calendar days of an initial placement or change of placement.
    2. Fiduciary employees must confirm the prepopulated placement data in FamLink within 24 hours of the child’s location being entered through the Child Locator Application.
    3. DCFS caseworkers must immediately notify the fiduciary if they learn of a foster care overpayment or underpayment.
    4. Follow Foster Care Rate Assessment policy to determine the foster payment rate. 
    5. DCFS caseworkers must request area administrator approval and obtain caregiver agreement to authorize payment for a child who is returning to a foster home after an absence of fifteen days or less.  Reasons for absences include but are not limited to children receiving medical or mental health care services, children or youth who are missing from care, or are in runaway status etc.
  3. Closing foster care placement
    1. When a child leaves a placement, the caseworker must close the out-of-home placement within three business days. To avoid overpayments, caregivers are not reimbursed for the last day a child is in their care. End and begin dates for the change of placement should be the same.
    2. When the fiduciary receives the placement information, they must enter the date change in FamLink.
  4. Supporting Caregivers
    1. DCFS caseworkers must:
      1. Refer the caregiver to the Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) licensor when they have licensing questions.
      2. Direct caregivers to the foster parent recruitment and retention contractor serving their area for peer support requests.
      3. Follow DCYF Administrative 6.04 Supporting LGBTQIA+ Individuals policy and assist caregivers in accessing LGBTQIA+ supports and resources.
      4. Follow Administrative Approvals policy when there is exceptional cost or service payment to reimburse or provide supports to a caregiver beyond what the foster care rate assessment or policy allows.
      5. Follow Clothing Allowance for Children in Out-of-Home Care policy to provide for the essential clothing needs of children entering care or to assist in providing additional funding for an exceptional need not met through the standard clothing allowance in the foster care monthly payment or other community resource. 
      6. Follow Travel and Transportation policy when reimbursing caregivers for child-related transportation. 
      7. Follow Concrete Goods policy when goods are needed to support child safety and permanency.  
      8. Follow Respite Care for Foster Parents when respite is needed for a child in placement.
      9. Follow Child Care policy when providing child care to support the employed caregiver.
      10. Follow Property Damage Reimbursement policy if an item belonging to a caregiver is damaged or destroyed by a child in the care and custody of DCYF.
      11. Refer the caregiver when the request information about adoption, to the:
        1.  DCYF adoption website.
        2. Local office’s adoption supervisor or designee.
      12. Coordinate with, or refer the caregiver to the assigned DCFS caseworker’s supervisor if a problem or a conflict arises.
      13. Allow caregivers to make decisions about normal child activities under the reasonable and prudent parenting standards. See Prudent Parenting Guide DCYF CWP_0078 publication.
  5. Documentation 
    DCFS caseworkers must document:
    1. How the child is doing in placement and conversations with the caregiver about how the child is doing per the Health and Safety visit policy.  
    2. The foster parent’s email address with their permission in the Provider Page in FamLink.


Background Check Authorization DCYF 09-653

Caregiver Monthly Transportation Reimbursement DCYF 07-090

Caregiver's Report to the Court DCYF 15-313

Foster Parent Claim DCYF 18-400

Permanency Planning Matrix DCYF 16-231

Policy Agreement DCYF 10-290

Vendor Affidavit of Lost, Stolen or Destroyed Warrant DCYF 09-013


Local Recruitment, Development and Support (RDS) Teams

The foster parent Recruitment and Retention contractor for the local CA office and region – look for the information on “Ways to Get Connected.”

Caregiver Connection monthly newsletter.

Information about becoming a foster parent.

Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) Packet available from the local DLR licensor

Caregiver Placement Packet


Caregiver Guidelines For Foster Childhood Activities

DCYF Administrative 6.04 Supporting LGBTQIA+ Individuals policy