4544. Responsible Living Skills Program

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary

Original Date: 2002

Revised Date: July 1, 2018

Policy Review: July 1, 2023


To assist staff in identifying and referring dependent eligible youth, age 16 through 17, to RLSP. If the youth is participating in RLSP prior to their 18th birthday, the youth may continue participating in RLSP up to age 21 when agreed upon by the caseworker and RLSP contracted provider.


This policy applies to Division of Children and Family Services staff.


RCW 74.15.020  Definitions

RCW 74.15.230 Responsible living skills programs, established, requirements

RCW 74.15.240  Responsible living skills program, eligibility

RCW 74.15.250  HOPE centers, responsible living skills programs, licensing authority, rules


  1. Caseworkers must:
    1. Determine if placing the youth age 16 through 17 years old in RLSP is the most appropriate placement based on the youth’s circumstance. The youth must meet the following eligibility criteria:
      1. Must be a dependent under Chapter 13.34 RCW;
      2. Does not have primary or alternate permanency plan of return home;
      3. Verbally agrees to participate in RLSP; and
      4. Does not have any behaviors that will hinder them from goals of the program or that could impact the safety of others.
    2. Complete and submit the RLSP Referral Criteria form DSHS 15-354 for all eligible youth to the regional RLSP coordinator or designee. The following information must be attached and submitted with the referral form or as soon as they are obtained:
      1. Most current court report
      2. Most current court order
      3. Mental health documents within the past two years (e.g. psychological evaluations, treatment diagnosis or reports, etc.)
      4. Placement history report
      5. Copy of social security card and birth certificate
      6. Copy of immunization records
      7. Education records from the prior 18 months, including 504 or Individual Education Plan (IEP)
      8. Other relevant legal orders pertaining to the youth’s RLSP eligibility
    3. Collaborate with the contracted RLSP provider in facilitating a meeting with the youth and any significant individuals identified by the youth to discuss the intent and expectations of the program and the youth’s commitment to participate in the program.
    4. Review Independent Living pages in FamLink prior to any court hearing or Multidisciplinary Meeting (17.5 staffing) for youth participating in the program.
    5. If the youth is missing from care (MFC), coordinate with the contracted RLSP provider to determine if the bed can remain open until the youth returns. Contracted RLSP providers have the discretion to keep a bed open for 15 calendar days when a youth is MFC.
    6. Complete a new referral if a youth exits the program, wants to re-admit prior to age 18 and continues to meet the eligibility criteria.
    7. Discuss and follow the 43105 Extended Foster Care Program policy with any youth interested in the program prior to their 18th birthday.
  2. Regional RLSP coordinators must:
    1. Review the RLSP referral form to verify eligibility and required attachments available at time of referral.
    2. Submit referral forms to contracted RLSP providers.
    3. Review monthly reports from contracted RLSP providers to evaluate the:
      1. Youth's individual outcomes and programmatic objectives are being met.
      2. Provider's ability to meet the youth's needs.
  3. Notify caseworkers in their region when an RLSP opening becomes available.


RLSP Referral form DSHS 15-354 located on CA intranet




FamLink Independent Living Quick Help Guide located on CA intranet