Initial license is a new type of license that took effect July 1, 2023, created in HB 1227 (2021).
The revised RCW 13.34.065 requires DCYF to start an assessment for an initial license to qualified relative and suitable person caregivers within 10 calendar days if the court orders the assessment at the shelter care hearing and the caregiver indicates a desire to become foster licensed.
This change allows the caregivers, including DCYF employees that are caregivers, to become eligible for foster care maintenance payments starting on the date DCYF approves the initial license.
At first, initial licenses will only be available when court-ordered at shelter care hearings. Once DCYF confirms the system is working, it will expand the availability of the initial license to any kinship caregiver who meets the requirements. DCYF anticipates the full rollout will be in early 2024.
HB 1227 also prioritized placement with kinship, and removes the requirement for a background check to be completed before the placement begins.