Prospective and existing foster caregivers in Washington state can now submit application and renewal forms through a new online portal aimed at streamlining the process.
Launched in early January, the portal is part of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families’ efforts to “increase and diversify the population of licensed and kinship caregivers, group care facilities, and Child Placing Agencies.”
The Washington Caregiver Application Portal, available in both English and Spanish, will allow caregivers to upload necessary licensure documentation, track their progress and sign documents electronically. It allows department staff to complete all paperwork and notes online, track background checks and training hours, and features recruitment and retention tools.
“Instead of stacks of papers, prospective and existing caregivers can complete application and renewal forms from a computer, tablet, or phone,” department Secretary Ross Hunter said in a press release. The portal is “one of the ways DCYF is modernizing how we support families across the state and safely speed up permanency for children and youth in out-of-home placements.”
The agency said it expects the new portal, developed by foster care software firm Binti, to decrease the time it takes to approve caregivers, reduce placement interruptions and total number of placements for children, and increase the state’s stock of licensed foster parents and improve retention.
New foster parent applications for the department are paused until March 1, but in the meantime, the portal’s services are open to kinship caregivers, license renewals, and applicants getting licensed through a private agency.