DCYF Caregiver Connection: September is Kinship Care month

DCYF Caregiver Connection: September is Kinship Care month

This month’s issue: scam calls to foster parents, pandemic relief for foster alumni, Adoption Consortiums, drop-in discussions for caregivers dealing with grief


Every year in September, we celebrate National Kinship Care Month. Kinship care refers to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, adult siblings, and even family friends.

Nearly half the children placed in out-of-home care by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) are identified with a relative or person known to the child and/or family. 

As a result of their commitment, the home provided for many of these children become their “forever” home.

In honor of National Kinship Care Month, we thank all kinship caregivers for their ongoing commitment to providing a safe and loving home to children in out-of-home care.

Thank you!

Child Welfare Worker Appreciation Week


For the last five years, the National Child Welfare Workforce Institution (NCWWI) and the Children’s Bureau have celebrated Child Welfare Workforce Development Month during September. For child welfare programs, it’s a time for us focus on how to better support and recognize our workforce. For child welfare professionals, it’s an opportunity for them to get reconnected with the reason they got into the field. As part of that celebration, DCYF recognizes our child welfare staff during Child Welfare Worker Appreciation Week held Sept. 13-17. We appreciate all that they do for the families we serve. Their commitment, passion, and compassion are not overlooked. 

“We would like to take a moment and recognize Angie Andrew for everything she has done. In addition to fulfilling her regular duties with excellence, she always goes above and beyond. She takes the time to get to know the individual needs of each child on her caseload and proactively researches resources and programs to support them. In addition, she is almost always available to provide guidance, support, or be a sounding board to help resolve difficult situations. Without her support, we wouldn’t have been able to recently adopt three children from foster care.”

Child Welfare Worker Shout Out from Adoptive Parents

Annual Flu Shots

Flu activity was kept low last season because of vaccination, social distancing, masking, school closures, and limited travel. Now that pandemic restrictions are lifting, and flu has a much higher chance of spreading. We can all do our part to prevent illness and hospitalizations caused by flu by getting vaccinated. The flu vaccine is your best protection against flu. DOH recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone aged six months and older, including pregnant and nursing women. If you are 65 or older, talk to your provider about flu vaccines and other important vaccines for your age group. The flu vaccine does NOT protect against coronavirus, colds, or other viruses that cause respiratory illness. It’s best to get your family vaccinated for flu by October, but the flu vaccine is still available through winter. In Washington, all children under age 19 get flu vaccines and other recommended vaccines at no cost. The provider may charge an administration fee to give the vaccine. You can ask them to waive this fee if you cannot afford it. Most insurance plans, including Medicare part B, cover the cost of flu vaccines for adults. Talk to your local health department for information about other no-cost flu vaccine options that may be available in your community.
To find a flu vaccine:
Call your doctor, nurse, or clinic
Visit your local pharmacy
Check the Flu Vaccine Finder
Contact your local health department
Call the Help Me Grow Washington Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.

Possible Scam Calls Targeting Caregivers

Several foster parents have reported getting voicemails asking they return the call regarding a “serious DCYF felony.” These calls are not made by DCYF staff and should be considered scam calls. However, our DCYF Licensing Division is making calls confirming email addresses on file as part of a legitimate project meant to update our foster parent and caregiver distribution list. The project is statewide, and caregivers should not be concerned if they receive a call from DCYF staff asking for their latest email address. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your assigned licensor or the child’s caseworker.  

Targeted Recruitment Specialist Hosting Events Near You

unity in the community event
Unity in the Community Spokane August 2021

The Targeted Recruitment Specialists have had a busy summer attending in-person recruitment events across the state. Throughout our recruitment efforts, we continue to focus our efforts on high removal zip codes, targeted populations and doing our part to grow awareness and resources. Additionally, the Targeted Recruitment Specialists have been working hard to build connections with important stakeholders, community groups, and partners to understand the needs of the diverse communities across the regions.

Some of the exciting things the Targeted Recruitment Specialist have been doing:

  • In-person back to school drives, block parties, and community events
  • In-person tabling events collaborating with non-profits
  • Visiting local businesses
  • Virtual foster parent recruitment events and networking
  • Attended cultural events

Contact your region’s Targeted Recruitment Specialist with questions, feedback, and recruitment opportunities in your area:

A map of DCYF’s regions can be found on this page. Find your regional targeted recruitment specialist below:

Region 1 | Carissa Stone |[email protected] | 509-828-3019

Region 2 | Gabriela Mendez |[email protected] | 509-407-7829

Region 3 | Angelia Etter |[email protected] | 360-899-6769

Region 4 | John Gonzales |[email protected] | 206-308-6802

Region 5 | Yolonda Marzest |[email protected] | 253-306-1311

Region 6 | Chisana White |[email protected] | 360-787-6182

Fpaws event

Recruitment and Retention Collaborative (RRC) meetings have been launched this past summer. The RRC serves as a way for DCYF to connect with internal and external stakeholders, including child welfare and licensing division staff, private agencies, tribal partners, and foster care affiliated non-profits. As we grow the RRC, DCYF hopes to keep recruitment and retention efforts creative, data-driven, and responsive to the community’s needs. We look forward to creating new connections, fostering existing partnerships, and growing recruitment efforts and community building on behalf of our children and youth experiencing foster care. Contact your region’s Targeted Recruitment Specialist with questions, feedback, and recruitment opportunities in your area (see contacts above).(Pictured: FPAWS Walk Me Home Event Tacoma, WA August 2021.)

CaRES Drop-In Discussion: Walking Through Grief


Alliance CaRES is hosting a drop-in discussion group for caregivers that walk through grief. The group offers a safe place for caregivers to share their experiences, offer support to fellow caregivers, and talk about strategies to navigate the grief that comes with fostering.
The group is held: Fridays from noon to 1 p.m on zoom: 966 4600 6596
No registration is required – This group does not offer training hours.
If you have any questions, email [email protected] or [email protected].

Adoption Consortium Connects Foster Youth with Adoptive Families

Adoption consortium is a service that assists caseworkers in identifying adoptive homes for youth in need of permanency. This service also provides potential adoptive families an opportunity to hear about youth in need of a permanent home, ask questions, and present themselves to the caseworkers as a potential match.

Who Can Participate?

  • Any youth or sibling group in need of a permanent adoptive home. The youth does not need to be legally free to use this service but the case should be in the TPR process and must have court or parent approval for participation
  • Any licensed or adoptive family who are currently approved for placement. This includes families licensed or home-studied through a private agency.

Consortiums are held monthly via Zoom. Join us at one of our upcoming events:
September 21, 2021 | 9 a.m. -12 p.m.
October 19, 2021 | 9 a.m. -12 p.m.
November 16, 2021 | 9 a.m. -12 p.m.
December 21,2021 | 9 a.m. -12 p.m.
If you are an adoptive family seeking to identify a child or youth, you can email Elisha Chambers ([email protected]) and Julie Pettit ([email protected]) regarding your interest in presenting your family. To learn more, view this publication.

COVID-19 Funds Available for Alumni Foster Youth

The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and Treehouse are partnering to disperse approximately $1.65 million in congressional funds to help alumni of foster care recover from the financial hardships caused by the pandemic. One of the provisions of the Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act is additional funding under the Chafee Program to assist former foster youth with critical financial needs.
The following youth are eligible to receive financial assistance:
– Eligible for DCYF’s Independent Living (IL) Program
– 23-26 years old
– Previously placed in out-of-home foster care for at least 30 days between the ages of 15-17
– Previously been a dependent of DCYF or federally recognized tribe
efc youth

Eligible youth can receive up to $1,000 in financial assistance for a variety of needs, including education, technology, rent, utilities, groceries, and more. The application window closes on Sept. 24, 2021. For more information or to apply, visit the Treehouse Pandemic Aid website.

DCYF Partners to Build Meaningful Careers for Youth


Real-world world skills. Real-world experience. Real-world success. DCYF is partnering with Career Connect Washington to create meaningful and rewarding employment pathways for the young people in the agency’s care. Many jobs today require training or education beyond high school. Through this partnership, DCYF will work to ensure the youth furthest from opportunity leave high school having had the chance to explore actual jobs and career pathways and build the skills they will need to pursue those careers. Career connected learning programs provide students with the chance to develop career awareness, exploration, preparedness, and ultimate career launch. Using these resources, DCYF will support youth in achieving their highest potential by helping to connect them to high-wage, in-demand jobs. DCYF’s Adolescent Programs division will work with other DCYF divisions to ensure the youth in our care are aware of these resources, and the Juvenile Rehabilitation division will begin sharing information about Career Connect Washington with youth and families during reentry planning.
Please share the Career Connect Washington website with youth looking to embark on a rewarding career path and any staff, family, or supportive adult looking to help them on their way: https://careerconnectwa.org/.  

The Protective Factors Framework

Watch this video to learn more about the Protective Factors Framework. Learn more here.

Feel free to share with your friends, neighbors, and networks. 

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