5120. Licensing State Foster Homes

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary

Effective Date: 1974

Revised Date: October 19, 2017

Sunset Review: October 1, 2021


Purpose

The Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) licenses and re-evaluates foster homes to safeguard the safety and well-being of children in out-of-home care by assessing and monitoring their compliance with minimum licensing requirements (MLR).

Scope

This policy applies to all DLR licensing staff.

Laws

RCW 74.15.040 Licenses for foster family homes required, Inspections

RCW 74.15.100 License application, issuance, duration, Reclassification, Location Changes

RCW 74.15.110 Renewal of Licenses

RCW 74.15.130 Licenses, Denial, suspension, revocation modification, Procedures, Adjudicative proceedings, Penalties

RCW 74.15.140 Action against licensed or unlicensed agencies authorized

RCW 74.13.260 On-Site monitoring program

RCW 43.20A.205 Denial, suspension, revocation, or modification of license 

Policy

  1. New Foster Home Licenses and Renewals
    1. Follow the 5110. Completing the Home Study policy.
    2. The DLR worker must interact with the applicant(s) in a manner that is culturally competent.
    3. DLR worker must have a discussion about cultural awareness and competency with the foster parent(s) to educate the foster parent(s) on the importance of meeting the child’s cultural needs.
    4. DLR worker must confirm that all WAC 388-148 requirements are met before a foster home license is issued and maintained throughout the duration of the license.
    5. The DLR worker must assess the physical setting of the applicant’s property and premises to determine the residence meets MLR.
    6. Waivers to WAC requirements must be approved by the DLR administrator or designee.
    7. Licenses are issued for a maximum of three years.
    8. Licenses will be issued or denied in writing.
  2. Provisional Expedited Foster Care Licenses
    Individuals applying for a provisional expedited license must meet the following requirements:
    1. Held a foster care license in the last five years that was not closed due to a denial, revocation or an agreement to relinquish.
    2. Resides in the same home in which the applicant was licensed and no additional individuals have moved into the home.
    3. Seeking a license from the same agency with which they were previously licensed and the agency agrees to supervise the home.
    4. Passed a new fingerprint-based background check for all household members age 16 years and older before the expedited license is issued.
       
  3. Foster Home Moves
    1. Foster parents moving to a new residence with an acceptable history of child care and if the family remains intact, may continue to provide care under their previous license for 30 days from the move date. The DLR worker must visit the home and approve the family’s new home within 30 days.
    2. Foster home moves are completed as an amended license, and have the same expiration date as the current license.
  4. Modifications

    Modifications must be completed when the license capacity (age, gender, and/or number) is modified due to change in household members, adoption, licensee request or through shared decision-making.

  5. Foster Home Change in Circumstance
    1. Foster parents must have their suitability reassessed when there has been a change in their circumstances that affects their ability to parent.
    2. Changes in circumstances will result in the completion of the Foster Home Re-Assessment DSHS 10-405 form, license modification or a new three year license. The DLR worker must staff the situation with a supervisor to determine which of these licensing actions to complete.
    3. Foster parents must apply for a new license when there is a change in circumstance due to the absence or presence of an additional caregiver.
    4. Changes to the license with or without the licensee’s approval require written notification of the licensee’s appeal rights unless the changes occur at license renewal.
  6. Health and Safety Monitoring

    The DLR worker or designated DLR worker must annually monitor a random sample of no less than 10% of their total state licensed foster homes by July 1st of each year.

  7. Waivers and Administrative Approvals
    1. The DLR worker must submit a Licensing Waiver DSHS 15-411 to the DLR Administrator or designee when the WAC does not allow discretion and the DLR worker supports an exception to the MLR.
    2. Waivers are time limited, usually child specific, and may compromise federal funding for all children placed in out-of-home care.
    3. Non-safety waivers for relative homes do not affect federal funding.
    4. The IV E Specialist must be notified of all approved waivers.
    5. The DLR worker must submit an Administrative Approval DSHS 15-411  to the DLR area administrator (AA) when the WAC specifically allows DLR discretion for approval.

Procedures

  1. New Foster Home Licenses
    The DLR worker must:
    1. Verify that a Family Home Study Application(s) DSHS 10-354  has been received and that a Background Check Authorizations DSHS 09-653 form and fingerprints were completed for all household members 16 years and older.
    2. Staff with supervisor to determine if a household member under the age of 16 years needs to complete a background check to verify safety of a child placed in a licensed home. If the supervisor approves a background check on a youth under the age of 16, and the youth has lived:
      1. In Washington for the previous three years, an in-state background check is required.
      2. Outside of Washington in the previous three years, a national background check is required.
    3. Open a pending “Full” license in FamLink.
    4. Complete the Home Study and required forms. See 5510. Completing the Home Study policy.
    5. Determine the applicants have sufficient income to meet their family’s personal needs without reliance on foster care payments per WAC 388-478-0015.
    6. Verify the Policy Agreements DSHS 10-290 form has been completed.
    7. Verify the Verification of Indian Status DSHS 15-128 is completed and documentation is provided, if applicable.
    8. Verify and document completion of Orientation, Caregiver Core Training, First Aid/CPR/Blood-Borne Pathogens training, and Tuberculosis (TB) test.
    9. Verify foster homes licensed for children under the age of two years have completed pertussis and influenza vaccinations on all household members, unless a medical exception has been approved for the influenza vaccine. There are no exemptions for pertussis.
    10. Verify all requirements on the Home Study File Checklist DSHS 10-182 are completed and the home meets the MLR.
    11. Document the following in FamLink on the provider’s “General” tab in the “License Information” group box:
      1. Select “Full” license as the “Type”.
      2. The “Date Issued” is the date the foster home license is approved and the “Expiration Date” is three years’ minus one day from the “Date Issued”.
      3. Select the “Approve” radio button in the “License Recommendation” group box to obtain supervisor approval.
    12. Provide a paper copy of the Foster Home License DSHS 10-010, New License Letter DSHS 10-429, and Foster Parent Identification (ID) cards to the foster parent following supervisor approval.
    13. Notify the placement desk when a general foster home or foster-to-adopt home has been licensed.
  2. Provisional Expedited Foster Care Licenses
    When a provisional expedited license application is received the DLR worker must:
    1. Verify the applicant meets the requirements to be eligible for a provisional expedited license.
    2. Read closing provider notes and provider actions in FamLink to verify the foster home license was not closed with recommendations for necessary evaluations, services or trainings.
      1. If the home was closed with recommendations for necessary evaluations, services or trainings a staffing is required with the supervisor. If the supervisor approves a “no referral” being placed on the provisional expedited foster care license, the DLR worker must notify the applicant that CA will not be placing children into their home until a full license has been approved. See “No Referral Process” below.
      2. The applicant may choose to withdraw the provisional expedited application and submit a new license application.
    3. Send the Provisional Expedited Incomplete Application DSHS 15-433A form with the application packet to the applicant.
    4. Verify that a completed Family Home Study Application DSHS 10-354  has been received and that a Background Check Authorization DSHS 09-653 form and fingerprints were completed for all household members 16 years and older.
    5. Staff with supervisor to determine if a household member under the age of 16 years needs to complete a background check to verify safety of a child placed in a licensed home. If the supervisor approves a background check on a youth under the age of 16, and the youth has lived:
      1. In Washington for the previous three years an in-state background check is required.
      2. Outside of Washington in the previous three years a national background check is required.
    6. Complete the Household Safety Inspection for Unlicensed Placements DSHS 10-453 form or Foster Home Inspection Checklist DSHS 10-183 within seven days of receiving the application for the provisional expedited license.
    7. Verify Policy Agreements DSHS 10-290 have been submitted.
    8. Verify the Provisional Expedited File Checklist DSHS 10-182B has been completed.
    9. Enter the capacity for the license in FamLink by verifying the following:
      1. The number of children cannot be more than the capacity they had when they were previously licensed.
      2. If a caregiver moved out of the home the capacity cannot be more than what is allowed by the minimum licensing requirements.
      3. If children who were previously in the home when licensed have since been adopted or are in a guardianship, reduce the number from their previous license capacity.
    10. Document the following in FamLink on the provider’s “General” tab in the “License Information” group box:
      1. Select “Initial” license as the “Type”.
      2. Select the “Approve” radio button in the “License Recommendation” group box to obtain supervisor approval.
      3. The “Date Issued” is the date the provisional expedited license is approved and the “Expiration Date” is three months minus one day from the “Date Issued”. If the foster home license is not completed within 90 days, close the license unless the applicant has made significant progress to complete their full foster home license and the AA approves the second provisional expedited license.
      4. Open a new pending “Full” license the day after the provisional expedited license was approved.
    11. Upon supervisor approval, issue the New Provisional Expedited License Letter DSHS 10-429A and a paper copy of the Provisional Expedited Foster Home License DSHS 10-010A within five days of requirements being met.
    12. Notify the IV-E specialist that this home does not meet minimum licensing requirements. CA cannot claim IV-E funds until a full license is issued on the home.
  3. After the Provisional Expedited Foster Care License is issued the DLR worker must:
    1. Follow the New Foster Home License procedures d.-m.
    2. Verify all licensing application materials have been submitted by the applicant within 14 days of receipt of the application.
    3. Determine the expiration date of the full license in FamLink. The expiration date documented in FamLink is three years minus one day. The start date is the day after the provisional expedited license was closed.
    4. Notify IV-E specialist that the home is now fully licensed.
  4. Renewals
    The DLR worker must:
    1. Send a re-application packet to the licensee 120 days in advance of the license expiration date. For applications received prior to the expiration date the license remains in effect until DLR completes the renewal. The packet must include:
      1. Family Home Study Application DSHS 10-354
      2. Background Authorization(s) DSHS 09-653
      3. Financial Worksheet DSHS 14-452
      4. Policy Agreements DSHS 10-290
      5. Emergency Evacuation Plan DSHS 16-204
      6. Employed Foster Parent Child Care Plan DSHS 10-406 
    2. Send the Foster Care License Renewal Notice DSHS 10-436.
    3. Track the expiration dates and demonstrate diligent efforts to assist a family to renew.
    4. Notify the foster parents at least two weeks prior to the license expiration, that placement and payment must be stopped if their foster care application is not received before the license expiration date.
    5. If an application has not been received within one day of the license expiration date, the DLR worker must contact the licensee and assist in obtaining an application if the foster parents intends to renew. 
    6. Close the license if a signed application is not received by the license expiration date. If there are children placed in the foster home, the DLR worker must notify the placement worker that the license has been closed.
    7. Complete an updated home study in FamLink if the family is planning to adopt within the next twelve months.
    8. Complete additional forms depending on the changes in family circumstances. Forms include, but are not limited to
      1. Financial Worksheet DSHS 14-452
      2. Applicant Medical Report DSHS 13-001
      3. Marital/Civil Union/Domestic Partnership History DSHS 09-979
      4. Licensing and Safety Supervision Plan for Site Specific Conditions DSHS 10-419, as applicable.
    9. Require the applicant to provide additional information or complete an evaluation when concerns are identified during the interview or on the renewal paperwork. Evaluations required are at the foster parent’s expense.
    10. Obtain a release signed by the applicant allowing information sharing before, during and after the evaluation.
    11. Provide all information to the evaluator related to the worker’s concern.
    12. Complete all of the following.
      1. Background checks on all household members age 16 years and older using the Background Check Authorization form DSHS 09-653.
      2. Fingerprints on all household members age 16 years and older, unless they have previously been completed.
      3. A FamLink person search and CA file review on all persons, regardless of any age living in the home, or are being cleared to provide substitute care for children.
      4. An out-of-state child abuse and neglect registry check per 6800 Background Check policy. 
    13. Complete the following required forms:
      1. Home Study File Checklist DSHS 10-182
      2. Foster Home Inspection Checklist DSHS 10-183 
      3. Foster Home Re-Assessment DSHS 10-405
      4. Licensing and Safety Supervision Plan for Site Specific Conditions DSHS 10-419, as applicable.
      5. Document individual training plan for the next renewal period. Worker may use the Individual Training Plan DSHS 06-166.
    14. Confirm the completion of required foster parent training. See 5180. Foster Parent Training policy.
    15. Approve or deny the license in writing following the supervisor’s review of the license per 5160 Adverse Action on a Foster Care License policy.
    16. Provide a paper copy of the license, Renewal License Letter DSHS 10-431, and Foster Parent ID Cards to the foster parent following supervisor approval.
  5. Foster Home Moves
    The DLR worker or Child Placing Agency (CPA) Licensor must:
    1. Obtain a Family Home Study Application DSHS 10-354.
    2. Assess the physical setting and issue an amended license within 30 calendar days.
    3. Complete the following forms:  
      1. Foster Home Re-Assessment DSHS 10-405 
      2. Home Study File Checklist DSHS 10-182
      3. Foster Home Inspection Checklist DSHS 10-183
      4. Emergency  Evacuation Plan DSHS 16-204  
      5. Licensing and Safety Supervision Plan for Site Specific Conditions DSHS 10-419, as applicable. 
    4. The DLR worker must notify a IV-E specialist if a license is not issued within 30 days of a move.
    5. The DLR worker may issue a new three-year license in lieu of amending the license if the license expires within six months of the move. The renewal paperwork is required to complete this license.
  6. Modifications
    The DLR worker must:
    1. Verify the home and applicants meets MLR.
    2. Conduct a site visit and an additional assessment if the modification is significantly different than the original assessment.
    3. Provide the foster parent with written notice of the modification using the Revised License Letter DSHS 10-430 to inform them of their appeal rights even if the applicant requested the modification per RCW 43.20A.205.
    4. Issue a modified license; the expiration date of the license is the same as the current license.
  7. Foster Home Change in Circumstance
    The DLR worker must:
    1. Conduct interviews or obtain additional information from the licensee when re-assessing the suitability of the applicant to care for children in out-of-home care.  
    2. Document the information by updating the home study in FamLink or on the Foster Home Re-Assessment DSHS 10-405 form.
    3. The DLR worker may modify the license at any time during licensure depending on the circumstances, evaluation of the DLR worker, or by request of the licensee
  8. Health and Safety Monitoring
    The DLR worker must:
    1. Complete the Foster Home Monitoring Visit DSHS 10-416 for each monitoring visit following RCW 74.13.260.
    2. Conduct announced or unannounced visits. The DLR worker should schedule the visit at a time when foster children are available to be interviewed in the home.
  9. Overcapacity/Age/Gender Administrative Approvals
    The DLR worker must review the Overcapacity Administrative Approval DSHS 15-349 form in FamLink to approve or deny placements that are outside the license capacity. Overcapacities for respite will be completed on the DSHS 15-349 form.
  10. No Referral Process
    The DLR worker must:
    1. Create a “no referral” in FamLink when a licensee requests no additional placements be made in their home.
    2. Discuss if there is a provider safety, health or well-being concern with the DLR supervisor to determine whether to recommend a "no referral."
    3. When recommending a "no referral" on a foster home:
      1. Notify Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and other involved agencies.
      2. If approved, inform all involved DCFS, Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) staff, and tribes when a decision is made not to place.
      3. Complete a letter to the foster parents notifying them that no more placements will be made in their home and send to the DCFS regional administrator (RA) or designee for approval. If approved, the DCFS RA or designee must send the letter to the foster parent and notify the DLR worker.
      4. Create a "no referral" in FamLink.
    4. When lifting a "no referral" on a foster home that was previously approved by DCFS:
      1. Notify DCFS RA or designee for approval. If approved, the DLR worker will remove the "no referral" in FamLink.
      2. Notify the foster parent.
      3. Notify the placement desk.

Forms

NOTE: Forms that are not linked are on the CA intranet under DLR Programs, DLR Forms.

Resources

  • DLR Performance Goals (see intranet under DLR Programs, DLR Resources)
  • WAC 388-148 Child foster homes minimum licensing requirements