4311. Pregnant and Parenting Youth

Revised Date: July 28, 2019

Sunset Review Date: July 31, 2023

Approved by: Ross Hunter, Secretary


This purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to child welfare employees working with dependent youth who are pregnant or parenting so that their unique needs are met and their efforts to transition to adulthood are successful.


RCW 9.02.100 Reproductive privacy - Public policy

RCW 26.44.030 Reports

RCW 74.13.280 Client Information

PL 110-351 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act 2008


  1. The unique needs of dependent youth who are pregnant or parenting must be identified and referred to services when necessary.
  2. All dependent pregnant and parenting youth must be provided with information about their rights and the duties and responsibilities of Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) during shared planning meetings.
  3. A dependency action on a dependent youth's child is only sought if a safety threat exists that cannot be controlled.
  4. When a dependent youth and their child live in the same placement and there is no need to file a dependency on that child, DCYF considers the child's home to be that of the dependent youth.


Assigned caseworkers must:

  1. Dependent Pregnant Youth
    1. Conduct a shared planning meeting within 10 calendar days of the youth's disclosure of the pregnancy. The purpose of the meeting is to:
      1. Identify needed services, i.e., prenatal care, nutrition, education, etc.
      2. Create a plan for how support will be provided to the expectant parent.
      3. Discuss and provide tribal enrollment information, if they wish to explore tribal enrollment eligibility for their child, when applicable.
    2. Follow the health and safety visit requirements and discuss:
      1. Needed pregnancy services.
      2. Referral to community resources as needed, e.g. First Steps, Safe Babies Safe Moms, Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP), Public Health Department, Women, Infant and Children (WIC), etc.
      3. The needs of the unborn child after the 28th week of pregnancy, e.g. child care, list of emergency contacts, services discussed above, etc.
      4. Placement options if the youth is unable to remain in the current placement after delivery.
      5. The youth’s educational needs.
      6. The Independent Living Program (ILP) and if the youth is interested, submit a completed Independent Living Services Referral DCYF 13-353 form.
  2. Dependent Parenting Youth
    1. Follow the Infant Safety policy when the youth's child is age birth to one year.
    2. Discuss tribal enrollment information with the youth for their child, if they wish to explore eligibility, when applicable.
    3. Follow health and safety visit requirements and discuss:
      1. Any needed medical services and applying for Apple Health medical insurance for the youth’s child. To apply, contact the Foster Care Medical Team at the Health Care Authority. Hospitals may also assist with obtaining medical coverage for newborns.
      2. The youth's role as a parent, including successes, challenges, and resources needed.
      3. Referral to community resources as needed for the parenting youth.
      4. Importance of ongoing engagement of the parent who is not providing primary care of the child.
      5. The youth’s educational needs.
      6. The ILP and if the youth is interested, submit a completed Independent Living Services Referral DCYF 13-353 form.
    4. Seek a court hearing to appoint an attorney or Guardian ad Litem (GAL) for the youth if one is not already appointed.
    5. If the youth wishes to voluntarily relinquish their parental rights, contact the Assistant Attorney General.
  3. Dependent Parent's Child
    1. Complete a Plan of Safe Care DCYF 15-491 when the child is born.
    2. Take immediate protective action if present danger exists. A decision to remove a child that is not dependent requires legal authorization per Placement Out-of-Home and Conditions for Return Home policy.
    3. Report any allegations of child abuse or neglect to intake.
  4. At the first opportunity, provide information about the dependent or parenting youth’s rights and responsibilities using the Tools to Support Pregnant and Parenting Youth in Care Guidebook DCYF 22-1536. Opportunities include during the health and safety visit, shared planning meeting, court hearings, school meetings, etc.
  5. Documentation
    1. Document in FamLink all medical examinations and hospitalizations, or if a pregnant or parenting youth refuses pre-natal care, and other medical services.
    2. Document in the FamLink Person Management page, under Additional Tab/Child Information section, the youth is a teen parent and whether their child resides with them.
    3. Close the current foster care placement and re-open placement from "basic foster care" to "basic foster care with a non-dependent child" when the child is born, determined to be safe in the parent's care, and the parent is in licensed foster care.


ICW Family Ancestry Chart

Independent Living Services Referral DCYF 13-353

Indian Identity Request DCYF 07-761 


Apple Health Coverage for Children

CA Worker Tip Sheet for Pregnant and Parenting Youth DCYF 22-1539

Department of Health Child Profiles - development and health information as your child grows

DSHS: Division of Child Support Caregiver Tip Sheet for Pregnant & Parenting Youth - DCYF 22-1537

First Steps

Guidebook for Pregnant & Parenting Teens in Foster Care DCYF 22-1538

Your Rights, Your Life: A Resource for Youth in Foster Care

OSPI GRADS Program for Pregnant teens or Young Parents

TANF Benefits

Teen Fathers Tip Sheet for Youth in Foster Care DCYF 22-1540

Teen Mothers Tip Sheet for Youth in Foster Care DCYF 22-1541

WA Health Plan Finder

Washington State Teen Help

Women Infant and Children