Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Home page

Raising Children

Talking with other relatives raising children can be a tremendous source of information and support. Find a support group.


Information and referral

The Family Health Hotline Take advantage of a free, statewide hotline providing information and referral on health and finding services related to raising children. They can help you with questions on health insurance, nutrition, immunization, child care, child development, children with special needs, and parent/sibling support. Call 1-800-322-2588 (TTY 711) or go to: Within Reach- Essential Resources for Family Health website.

The Family Help Line is a statewide, toll-free line offering information and referral; assistance with problem-solving; advocacy; coaching and support; and that increasingly rare commodity - a listening ear. The Family Help Line is a service of Parent Trust for Washington Children. Further information - including a searchable database of resources, classes, groups, and events in Washington State - can be found at Family Help Line or by calling the Family Help Line at 1-800-932-HOPE (4673).

Through the Eyes of a Child is a useful series of nine fact sheets for grandparents raising grandchildren (birth to age eight) on child development, family relationships, and the importance of contact with birth parents. To read or download the information visit University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Fact Sheets.

Helpful Fact Sheets for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren offers 14 different fact sheets on a variety of topics for grandparents who are providing primary care for their grandchildren. (Also available in Spanish).  Developed by University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences.  See Grandparents Raising Grandchildren website.

"On Your Lap, In Your Heart" are online resources designed especially for grandparents and grandparent-headed families of children aged birth to three. ZERO TO THREE. Learn more.

Training

Training opportunities for relative caregivers, foster parents, and adoptive parents are available at no cost through the Resource Family Training Institute - RFTI. You will find a listing of available classroom training, interactive on-line training, and videos. Visit the Resource Family Training website.

Early Intervention (age birth to three) and education (age 3 and up) resources and information for children with special needs and their families Early Intervention and Education Resources.

Early intervention services, for children, birth to three, are available through the Washington State Early Support for Infants and Toddler's - ESIT program.

If you care for a child with a disability or have a concern about a child's development, birth to three, call the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or Ask for the name of a Family Resources Coordinator - FRC in your local community.  The FRC will help you find out if a child you care for is eligible for early intervention services.  You do not need a referral from a doctor to call.  The WithinReach website provides essential resources for family health.

For more information about Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (formerly ITEIP)
visit their website or call (360) 725-3500.
Please Ask, Babies Can't Wait

Services for individuals diagnosed with a developmental disability and/or delaymay be available through DSHS' Division of Developmental Disabilities - DDD .   For more information visit the DDD website.

New autism benefits available to children covered under Apple Health for Kids and the Public Employees Benefit Plans. Here is a link to services from Health Care Authority. Health Care Authority Approves ABA Therapy for Medicaid Children Diagnosed with Autism

New: Grand Resources: A Grandparent’s and Other Relative’s Guide to Raising Children with Disabilities. Generations United, developed this guide to equip those persons that provide full and part time care to relative children, with the national resources they need to help their children thrive. The guide includes topics such as health care, financial assistance, therapies and educational services, mental health, respite care and much more. A companion piece,  A Resource directory for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children with Disabilities provides a detailed list of the quality services, resources, information, and advocacy tools vital for children with disabilities.

New autism benefits available to children covered under Apple Health for Kids and the Public Employees Benefit Plans. Here is a link to services from Health Care Authority.
Health Care Authority Approves ABA Therapy for Medicaid Children Diagnosed with Autism

A parent advocate within DSHS' Mental Health Division can be reached at 1-800-446-0259, extension 1.

Community Connectorsare parents and caregivers raising children with emotional, behavioral or mental disorders. They provide support, information and assist with problem-solving issues. To find out more or to request A Parent's Guide to the Public Mental Health System booklet call the Mental Health Parent Advocate at 1-800-446-0259, extension 1. For more information about available mental health services visit the DSHS Mental Health website.    

Tips on a variety of topics for relatives who have taken over the care of a child when parents' drug or alcohol use has left them unable to care for their children through the Children of Alcoholics Foundation - COAF Ties That Bind Project.

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) matches caring adult mentors with children ages 7-16, to make a positive impact in their lives. Extra training is provided for mentors and families matched in our Children of Incarcerated Parents Program. For more information, contact Big Brothers Big Sisters at 1-877-700-2447 or visit the go to the Big Brothers Big Sisters website.

Beyond the Walls: A Guide to Services for Families Affected by Incarceration!(DSHS 22-1288x) This publication provides information to families and social service staff on DSHS services along with services from other agencies that may help meet the needs of families dealing with the incarceration of a family member.
English, Spanish.  (PDF)

Childhood Disrupted: Understanding the Features and Effects of Maternal Incarceration, November 2010,  produced by Wilder Research and supported by Volunteers of America.