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The Foster Parents Association of Washington State (FPAWS) is a non-profit corporation chartered in 1973 providing support and services to foster families throughout the State of Washington. Our Association has evolved over the years to develop direct support for adoptive, foster and kinship parents as well as initiating legislative action for the betterment of foster and adoptive families.

By 1990
FPAWS had created the FIRST and Liaison foster parent support programs, and was contracting with the state to operate them. Darlene Flowers was the Executive Director. Around this time, with Darlene Flowers as Executive Director, FPAWS also started the Child Welfare Advocacy Coalition. CWAC brings together over 50 organizations from across Washington state in an effort to present a unified voice for child welfare policy and practices.

By 1990
In 2005
FPAWS reorganized as an all volunteer organization. Steve and Danielle Baxter were the Co-Presidents and reached out to Mike and Beth Canfield to return as Vice-Presidents. Mary McGauhey, Tess Thomas, Dru Powers, Daryl Daugs and Jamie Belitz sat with Steve, Danielle, Beth and Mike to build a new FPAWS – an FPAWS made up of volunteers with no income, that would truly advocate and support caregivers and kids, and bring together those on both sides of the State. They decided the Board would visit each of the 6 Regions once a year, and while travelling they could hold training sessions. With Board meetings on Friday night and training on Saturday, this was the invention of the “Mini-Conferences”, designed to bring a conference atmosphere and networking opportunities to caregivers.
In 2005
In 2006
FPAWS ran 6 Mini-Conferences around the State, with growing participation and positive reports from caregivers. The next step was creation of an annual Pacific Northwest Caregivers Conference near Olympia so Legislators could attend – Rep. Ruth Kagi attended our first gathering in Lacey. At this time, the Board was looking at how foster parents could gain a larger voice in their own fostering lives, and began thinking about unionizing. It was big news all over the United States (Seattle PI article, Everett Herald, Boston Globe). As a compromise, Rep. Kagi met with our FPAWS Presidents and came up with HB1624: specifically this section of the law that calls for consultation between the Department and Foster Parents.

The department shall have the duty to provide child welfare services and shall:
….

Consult at least quarterly with foster parents, including members of the foster parent association of Washington state, for the purpose of receiving information and comment regarding how the department is performing the duties and meeting the obligations specified in this section and RCW 74.13.250 and 74.13.320 regarding the recruitment of foster homes, reducing foster parent turnover rates, providing effective training for foster parents, and administering a coordinated and comprehensive plan that strengthens services for the protection of children. Consultation shall occur at the regional and statewide levels.
1624, as it is commonly referred to, brought foster parents a real voice. One can read the archived 1624 notes on the DCYF web page: https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/services/foster-parenting/fp-1624

In 2006
In 2011
the State of California’s foster parents were suing their State. Mike Canfield (once again President with Beth, a term that lasted 10 years) suggested FPAWS also sue Washington for an increase in the basic rate. The Board was referred to Perkins-Coie who represented FPAWS for four years in negotiations with the State, and in 2015 a settlement was agreed on to raise the basic rate by nearly 30%. (Seattle Times coverage).

In 2011
In 2016
and over the next few years FPAWS supported Rep Kagi and many other child welfare groups in the development of the new department, DCYF.

Today FPAWS continues to support caregivers with a passion. Board members sit on many commissions, panels, task forces and work groups. Today we work closely with DCYF and many other stakeholders to bring support, training, resources, and the connections that keep a foster parent going. The future looks bright and together we will continue building a better foster care system.

Today FPAWS continues to support caregivers with a passion. Board members sit on many commissions, panels, task forces and work groups. Today we work closely with DCYF and many other stakeholders to bring support, training, resources, and the connections that keep a foster parent going. The future looks bright and together we will continue building a better foster care system.

In 2016

Pacific Northwest Caregivers Conference

Join us October
16 - 17

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