What to Expect

Prospective foster parents who inquire through our on-line questionnaire, or who call Washington’s foster parent recruitment phone line 1-888-KIDS-414, can expect a return email or phone call within 48 business hours. Children’s Administration in Washington partners our recruitment efforts with two contractors who respond to your inquiry to provide information and on-going support:

  • Eastern Washington University’s (EWU) Fostering Washington program:
  • Olive Crest’s Fostering Together program:


You can expect many personal rewards such as:

  • Protecting children from harm.
  • Making a difference in a child's life.
  • Helping children feel good about themselves.
  • Learning and using new skills.

Length of Stay

A child may live with you for a few days, several months, or a year or more. Some prospective foster parents choose to become licensed only to provide Respite Care, which offers a child’s foster parent the opportunity to take a break from caregiving responsibilities.  The amount of time a child will stay in your home depends on the birth family’s situation.  When a child is placed in out-of-home care, the social workers at Children’s Administration (CA) don’t know how long the child will stay in your home.  The Court decides when a child will be reunited, or placed through another permanent plan.

Children's Administration (CA) makes every effort to reunite parents and children. Also, by federal law, Children’s Administration must make significant efforts to search for each child’s relatives. CA prioritizes placement of children with their relatives whenever possible; you may have a child placed with you while we continue to search for a relative family.

Many foster parents grow close to the children placed in their care. When a child leaves your home, it can be hard on the entire foster family. If the parents are not able to successfully re-unite with their child, and their parental rights are terminated by the court, the foster child becomes “legally free”. If relatives have not been found who can adopt the child, we will ask if the foster parents would want to adopt the child(ren).  Foster parents can - and many do, adopt children that come into their lives through the foster care program.

Becoming a Foster Parent