5120. Licensing State Foster Homes

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary

Effective Date: 1974

Revised Date: July 1, 2018

Sunset Review: July 1, 2023


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 74.15.127 Expedited foster licensing process

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. The DLR worker must:
      1. Follow the 5110. Completing the Home Study policy.
      2. Interact with the applicants in a manner that is culturally competent.
      3. Have a discussion about cultural awareness and competency with the foster parents to educate the foster parents on the importance of meeting the child’s cultural needs.
      4. Confirm that all requirements in chapter WAC 388-148 are met before a foster home license is issued and maintained throughout the duration of the license.
      5. Assess the physical setting of the applicant’s property and premises to determine the residence meets MLR.
      6. Complete the required number of new licenses and renewals per DLR Performance Goals located on the Children’s Administration (CA) intranet under DLR Programs.
    2. Waivers to WAC requirements must be approved by the DLR administrator or designee.
    3. Licenses are issued for a maximum of three years.
    4. 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 the required background checks for all required household members and those living on the premises before the expedited license is issued.
  3. Foster Home Moves
    1. The license shall be limited to a particular location that shall be stated on the license.
    2. A foster parent’s license may remain in effect for 30 days after moving to a new residence as long as the foster parent has an acceptable history of child care and the family remains intact. 
    3. The DLR worker must visit the new residence and approve the family in their new residence licensure within 30 days of the move.
    4. A foster home move is completed as an amended license, and it has the same expiration date as the license in effect before the move.
  4. Modifications
    Modifications must be completed when the license capacity (age, gender, 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 may affect 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 in the foster home or licensed facility.
    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 Applications DSHS 10-354 has been received.
    2. Complete background checks on individuals age 16 and older, including those living on the premises, and other requirements in the 6800 Background Check policy.
    3. Open a pending “Full” license in FamLink.
    4. Complete the Home Study and required forms per 5110 Completing the Home Study policy.
    5. Determine if the applicants have sufficient income to meet their family’s personal needs without reliance on foster care payments by applying the needs standards in WAC 388-478-0015.
    6. Verify the Policy Agreements DSHS 10-290 form is 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, the Foster Parent Rights and Responsibilities, 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 per WAC 388-148-1321.
    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.
    5. Complete background checks on individuals age 16 and older, including those living on the premises, and other requirements in the 6800 Background Check policy.
    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 MLR.
      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 “Expedited” 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, the Foster Parent Rights and Responsibilities, 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 MLR. 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 1.d.-m.
    2. Verify that all licensing application materials have been submitted by the applicant within 14 days of receipt of the application the department receiving 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 when the home becomes fully licensed.
  4. Renewals
    The DLR worker must:
    1. Send a re-application packet to the licensee 120 days before the license expires. For applications received before 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 Authorizations 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 before the license expires that placement and payment will 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 parent 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 Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) 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. Applicant Medical Report DSHS 13-001
      2. Marital/Civil Union/Domestic Partnership History DSHS 09-979
      3. Licensing and Safety Supervision Plan for Site Specific Conditions DSHS 10-419, as applicable.
    9. Require the applicant to provide documentation if the DLR worker identifies fire safety concerns. Inspections must be completed at the foster parent’s expense.
    10. Require the applicant to provide additional information or complete an evaluation when the DLR worker identifies concerns during the interview or on the renewal paperwork. Evaluations required are at the foster parent’s expense.
    11. Obtain a release signed by the applicant allowing information sharing before, during and after the evaluation.
    12. Provide all information to the evaluator related to the worker’s concern.
    13. Complete background checks on individuals age 16 and older, including those living on the premises, and other requirements in the 6800 Background Check policy. 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.
    14. Document individual training plan for the next renewal period. Worker may use the Individual Training Plan DSHS 06-166.
    15. Confirm the completion of required foster parent training. See 4512. Foster Parent Training policy.
    16. 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.
    17. Provide a paper copy of the Renewal License Letter DSHS 10-431, the Foster Parent Rights and Responsibilities, 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 complete an additional assessment if the modification is significantly different from 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 if appropriate. If a modification is granted, 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, the DLR worker’s evaluation, 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:
    1. Review the Overcapacity Administrative Approval DSHS 15-349 form in FamLink to approve or deny placements that are outside the license capacity.
    2. Review the hard copy of the Overcapacity Administrative Approval DSHS 15-349 form for approved overcapacities for respite.
  10. No Referral Process
    The DLR worker must:
    1. Create a “no referral” in FamLink when a licensee requests no additional placements to be made in their home.
    2. Discuss any provider safety, health or well-being concerns with the DLR supervisor to determine whether to recommend a "no referral."
    3. When recommending a "no referral" on a foster home:
      1. Notify DCFS and other involved agencies.
      2. If DCFS approves the “no referral”:
        1. Inform all involved, including but not limited to DCFS, Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) staff, and tribes, when a decision is made not to place.
        2. 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:
          1. Send the letter to the DCFS RA or designee to send the letter to the foster parent.
          2. Request the DCFS RA or designee to notify the DLR worker when the letter has been sent.
        3. Create a "no referral" in FamLink.
    4. When recommending a "no referral" on a foster home be lifted:
      1. Submit the recommendation to the DCFS RA or designee for approval.
      2. If approved, the DLR worker will:
        1. Remove the "no referral" in FamLink.
        2. Notify the foster parent.
        3. Notify the placement desk.

Forms

Administrative Approval DSHS 15-411

Background Check Authorization DSHS 09-653

Emergency Evacuation Plan DSHS 16-204

Employed Foster Parent Child Care Plan DSHS 10-406

Family Home Study Application DSHS 10-354

Financial Worksheet DSHS 14-452

Foster Care License Renewal Notice DSHS 10-436

Foster Home Inspection Checklist DSHS 10-183

Foster Home License DSHS 10-010

Foster Home Monitoring Visit DSHS 10-416

Foster Home Re-Assessment DSHS 10-405

Home Study File Checklist DSHS 10-182

Expedited Incomplete Application DSHS 15-433A

Individual Training Plan DSHS 06-166

Licensing and Safety Supervision Plan for Site Specific Conditions DSHS 10-419

New Provisional Expedited License Letter DSHS 10-429A

New License Letter DSHS 10-429

Overcapacity Administrative Approval DSHS 15-349

Policy Agreements DSHS 10-290

Provisional Expedited Foster Home License DSHS 10-010A

Provisional Expedited File Checklist DSHS 10-182B

Renewal License Letter DSHS 10-431

Revised License Letter DSHS 10-430

Verification of Indian Status DSHS 15-128

Policy Agreements DSHS 10-290

 

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