FAQs

Your family may be offered prevention services for a variety of reasons. When a family is referred to DCYF, the caseworker will complete an assessment to better understand your family’s needs, functioning, your children’s well-being, and other details to support you. It is through this assessment that caseworkers and families identify areas where assistance can be provided or other services can be arranged to prevent future DCYF involvement. If your family qualifies, you will be offered prevention services.

You and your family, along with the caseworker, will determine your specific needs and goals. Together you will create a prevention plan to address the identified goals and needs. Your family will then be referred for services such as:

  • Counseling
  • Parent education/support,
  • Child care
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Domestic violence resources
  • Educational evaluations for children
  • Mental health support
  • Housing assistance
  • Concrete goods

Participation in prevention services is voluntary and can end at any time. Your caseworker can provide support for up to a year, depending on your family’s needs.

To request voluntary services, families may call the hotline and request assistance. Due to the voluntary nature of this program, a family can refer themselves if they are seeking prevention services and believe they can benefit from Family First Prevention Services.

*Please be aware the following phone numbers take you to the statewide intake line where concerns for child abuse and neglect can be reported. DCYF has one intake center where services can be requested, and concerns for abuse and neglect can also be reported.

Region 1

1-800-557-9671

Region 2

855-420-5888

Region 3

(866) 829-2153

Region 4

1-800-609-8764

Region 5

1-888-713-6115

Region 6

1-866-764-2233

DCYF Regional Map

If you know a family who could benefit from prevention services, please review the Family Voluntary Services brochure and talk to the family about how Family First may be able to assist them.

*Please be aware the following phone numbers take you to the statewide intake line where concerns for child abuse and neglect can be reported. DCYF has one intake center where services can be requested, and concerns for abuse and neglect can also be reported.

Region 1

1-800-557-9671

Region 2

855-420-5888

Region 3

(866) 829-2153

Region 4

1-800-609-8764

Region 5

1-888-713-6115

Region 6

1-866-764-2233

DCYF Regional Map

Prevention services will be provided by a specialized caseworker trained in motivational interviewing, implementing case plans with the shared vision of the family, and addressing child safety and risk.

The Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse was established by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct an objective and transparent review of research on programs and services intended to provide enhanced support to children and families and prevent foster care placements. The Clearinghouse reviews evidence on mental health, substance abuse prevention and treatment, in-home parent skill-based programs, services, and kinship navigator programs.

The Prevention Services Clearinghouse uses a systematic review process that is implemented by trained reviewers using consistent, transparent standards and procedures. Clearinghouse staff uses this systematic review process to:

(1) Identify programs and services for review

(2) Select and prioritize programs and services for review

(3) Conduct a literature search to locate research studies on the effectiveness of the prioritized programs and services

(4) Screen studies for eligibility and prioritize them for review

(5) Conduct an evidence review to rate the strength of evidence of the studies using the design and execution standards

(6) Rate programs and services as well-supported, supported, promising, or does not currently meet criteria.

DCYF believes that children do best in a strong family and that families do best with support from their communities. Through Family First, DCYF is dedicated to increasing community support for families to build a stronger continuum of services. Collaborations between DCYF, Chapin Hall, and Community Partners are underway to keep children with their families safely.

The earlier we can offer prevention services and supports, the more likely we are to significantly reduce the number of children and youth in out-of-home care. Please review DCYF’s Strategic Priorities for 2021-2026 for more information.

Early Learning:

Find Child Care/Early Learning
Early Learning Navigator
Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP)

Mental Health:

Behavioral Health Organizations
Health Care Authority – Mental Health Services

Substance Use:

Behavioral Health Organizations
Health Care Authority – Substance Use Services

Parent Education/Support:

Eat, Sleep, Console
Help Me Grow
Safe Families
Strengthening Families Washington
Department of Health Family Services
YWCA Domestic Violence Services
Department of Social and Health Domestic Violence Services

*DCYF partners with many local and statewide agencies across Washington. This list is not all-inclusive.

DCYF partnered with communities and stakeholders to build a comprehensive plan that helps children and families who are at risk of entering foster care receive enhanced support in areas such as in-home skill-based programs and services, mental health services, and substance abuse prevention and treatment.

Feb. 9, 2018
The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law.  

Oct. 1, 2019
States can submit a Family First Plan for federal approval in order to receive Title IV-E funding for prevention services.

Dec. 19, 2019
Washington submitted the first five-year prevention plan to the Children’s Bureau.

March 2020
The Children’s Bureau provided feedback on the Family First Plan.

April 30, 2020
DCYF submitted an amended plan. The Children’s Bureau requested additional information on how the chosen evidence-based practices would be evaluated.

July 31, 2020
DCYF addressed the feedback from the Children’s Bureau and submitted the revised prevention plan for approval.

Oct. 1, 2020
The federal Children’s Bureau approved the Family First Prevention Plan.

Multiple workgroups were developed to focus on creating project plans. These workgroups included staff from across DCYF, providers, tribes, external partners, and stakeholders. Partnership across systems will be critical to bringing this to life in Washington.