Foster Care Licensing

May 11, 2020 - Clarification on Recent Job Posting

Temporary Actions in Response to COVID-19

DCYF has created an emergency foster care waiver and exception process in order for programs and families to respond more effectively to the COVID-19 crisis. If you are a licensed foster parent or and believe you need to request a waiver, contact your DCYF or agency licensor to discuss available options if you are unable to meet WAC requirements during this COVID-19 pandemic. If the only available option is a waiver, please ensure your licensor has the following information:

  • What WAC requirement you are requesting to be waived.
  • What steps you have taken to try and mitigate without a waiver.
  • How you are going to ensure the health and safety of children while operating outside the general WAC or policy requirements.

All DCYF background check applicants who require fingerprints can be conditionally approved for the purpose of the background check if they pass an in-state name and date-of-birth background check. Fingerprints are still required and the DCYF background check team will track this work moving forward.

Removes crimes that do not relate directly to child safety, permanence or well-being while considering disproportionate impacts on individuals with criminal history.

Secretary’s List of Crimes and Negative Actions

DCYF background check staff will use previous fingerprint results, when available, for new background checks requiring fingerprints, and complete new in-state background check for any new criminal or negative action history.

DCYF foster care licensors and home study specialists will not perform secondary assessments when an individual with criminal or negative action history passed the background check.

DCYF staff will use previously completed administrative reviews for new background checks that do not reveal new crimes or negative actions.

General Questions

To sign up for our pool of temporary, on-call staff who can step in to work at various youth Behavioral Rehabilitation Services facilities in Washington if the need arises, please fill out this form.

If you are a group home provider who needs temporary staff, email dcyf.COVID19groupcareresponse@dcyf.wa.gov.

Child placing agencies, group homes and families will still complete background check applications. The DCYF background check team will complete in-state background checks, determine if the individual is conditionally approved for the purpose of the background check and notify the individual and requesting staff if approved. Applicants will continue to receive the fingerprint appointment forms and they will need to submit fingerprints when it is safe and resources are available.

DCYF foster care licensors and home study specialists will no longer request criminal history from applicants who passed the background check and accept the background check decision as final. Other program vetting requirements will remain in place, except as noted above.

Child Placing Agencies

We at DCYF value our partnership with you in service to the youth and families in our community. We are writing to share decisions that have been made regarding our organizational response to the COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus outbreak with services you provide. 

We are closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local and regional health authorities. We are implementing recommended preventative measures to maintain safe work conditions and prevent the spread of the virus. We request, if you have not done so already, you do the same. This includes your agency’s own emergency response plan for infectious diseases. This includes reviewing each child’s case with child and family teams (including caseworker) and identifying essential needs and what service and functions are required.

During this crisis, programs should:

  • Contact your regional licensor to discuss available options if you are unable to meet WAC requirements during this COVID-19 pandemic.
    • If the only available option is a waiver, please ensure your licensor has the following information:
      • What WAC requirement you are requesting to be waived.
      • What steps you have taken to try and mitigate without a waiver. 
      • How you are going to ensure the health and safety of children while operating outside the general WAC or policy requirements.
  • For all field work, consult with supervisor about the necessity of the visit or if it can be postponed.
  • If a provider answers yes to the above questions, consult with supervisor prior to proceeding with the visit. Explore other options with your supervisor on how to complete necessary work.
  • Utilize social distancing techniques or mobile technology for as much work as possible.
  • Complete necessary documentation and submit work utilizing computer processes as often as possible.
  • Practice social distancing as outlined by the Governor’s directive/DOH.
    • If there are more than 10 people in your home/facility, you must submit a plan to DCYF licensing that outlines how you will limit group congregations to less than 10 people (including staff and residents) at a time:
      • Including mealtimes, leisure activities and supervision.
  • Limit travel to those essential functions needed to maintain the safety and health of children.
    • Essential medical appointments and or treatments
    • Required and unavoidable court appearances
  • Limit service provisions to essential needs for the safety and health of the children being served
    • Anytime you can provide an alternative to in-person service that does not compromise the safety and health of a child you should do so. 
  • Be prepared with basic provisions for at least two weeks of quarantine. This includes essential medicine and prescription medications.
  • Utilize nurse hotlines for consultation (1-844-354-9876).
  • Set up a child’s Teladoc account (now, before there is an actual need).
    • When setting up a Teladoc account, please use the child/youth’s ProviderOne number for the “login id.”
    • If you do not know the child’s ProviderOne number:
      1. Ask the assigned caseworker for the number
      2. Contact the Foster Care Medical Team at 1-800-562-3022 ext. 15480
  • Look at non-emergent medical transportation methods https://www.hca.wa.gov/health-care-services-supports/apple-health-medicaid-coverage/transportation-services-non-emergency.  If you are having difficulty, contact Fostering Welling being Nurses at fwb@dshs.wa.gov or 1-800-422-3263 to assist with arranging non-emergency transportation
  • If deemed necessary, prior to a home visit or facility visit, call provider to inquire as to pre-visit COVID-19 questions:
    • Is anyone in the household/facility experiencing any symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing?
    • Have you or anyone in the household/facility been in contact with anyone known to have a confirmed case of COVID-19?
    • Within the last 30-days, has the child(ren) or anyone else in the household reported or presented with recent shortness of breath or a noticeable difference in shortness of breath, new or recent cough or fever?

Communication will be ongoing as new information, direction and circumstances unfold.   

Stay well,  

Your DCYF Licensing Division Team

March 17, 2020

Foster Homes

We at DCYF value our partnership with you in service to the youth and families in our community. We are writing to share decisions that have been made regarding our organizational response to the COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus outbreak with services you provide.  

We are closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local and regional health authorities. We are implementing recommended preventative measures to maintain safe work conditions and prevent the spread of the virus. We request, if you have not done so already, you do the same. This includes your agency’s own emergency response plan for infectious diseases. This includes reviewing each child’s case with child and family teams (includes caseworker) and identifying essential needs and what service and functions are required.

During this crisis, programs should:

  • Contact your DCYF or agency licensor to discuss available options if you are unable to meet WAC requirements during this COVID-19 pandemic.
    • If the only available option is a waiver, please ensure your licensor has the following information:
      • What WAC requirement you are requesting to be waived.
      • What steps you have taken to try and mitigate without a waiver.
      • How you are going to ensure the health and safety of children while operating outside the general WAC or policy requirements.
  • Utilize social distancing techniques or mobile technology for as much work as possible.
  • Complete necessary documentation and submit work utilizing computer processes as often as possible.
  • Practice social distancing as outlined by the Governor’s directive/DOH.
    • If there are more than 10 people in your facility, you must submit a plan to DCYF licensing that outlines how you will limit group congregations to less than 10 people (including staff and residents) at a time:
      • Including mealtimes, leisure activities and supervision.
  • Limit travel to those essential functions needed to maintain the safety and health of children.
    • Essential medical appointments and or treatments.
    • Required and unavoidable court appearances.
  • Limit service provisions to essential needs for the safety and health of the children being served.
    • Anytime you can provide an alternative to in-person service that does not compromise the safety and health of a child you should do so.
  • Be prepared with basic provisions for at least two weeks of quarantine. This includes essential medicine and prescription medications.
  • Utilize nurse hotlines for consultation (1-844-354-9876).
  • Set up a child’s Teladoc account (now, before there is an actual need).
    • When setting up a Teladoc account, please use the child/youth’s ProviderOne number for the “login id.”
    • If you do not know the child’s ProviderOne number:
      1. Ask the assigned caseworker for the number
      2. Contact the Foster Care Medical Team at 1-800-562-3022 ext. 15480
  • Look at non-emergent medical transportation methods https://www.hca.wa.gov/health-care-services-supports/apple-health-medicaid-coverage/transportation-services-non-emergency. If you are having difficulty, contact Fostering Welling being Nurses at fwb@dshs.wa.gov or 1-800-422-3263 to assist with arranging non-emergency transportation
  • Limit in-person visitations to those which cannot be completed through alternative methods:
    • Video conference
    • Phone contact
    • Visitors must pass a screening

Communication will be ongoing as new information, direction and circumstances unfold.  

Stay well,  

Your DCYF Licensing Division Team

March 17, 2020

Please follow WAC 110-148-1430 in reporting to DCYF staff and the Washington State Department of Health. For Center for Disease Control (CDC) requirements and guidelines, please visit for additional guidance on how to monitor yourself and keep others around your healthy: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html

March 13, 2020

We recognize that there are limited resources for respite care, which may decrease due to COVID-19. Approved respite providers are able to provide care in your home. Please contact your licensor if you have identified someone new to provide respite care in your home.

March 13, 2020

Group Homes

We at DCYF value our partnership with you in service to the youth and families in our community. We are writing to share decisions that have been made regarding our organizational response to the COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus outbreak with services you provide.

We are closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local and regional health authorities. We are implementing recommended preventative measures to maintain safe work conditions and prevent the spread of the virus. We request, if you have not done so already, you do the same. This includes your agency’s own emergency response plan for infectious diseases. This includes reviewing each child’s case with child and family teams (including caseworker) and identifying essential needs and what service and functions are required.

During this crisis, programs should:

  • Contact your regional licensor to discuss available options if you are unable to meet WAC requirements during this COVID-19 pandemic.
    • If the only available option is a waiver, please ensure your licensor has the following information:
      • What WAC requirement you are requesting to be waived.
      • What steps you have taken to try and mitigate without a waiver.
      • How you are going to ensure the health and safety of children while operating outside the general WAC or policy requirements.
  • Practice social distancing as outlined by the Governors directive/DOH.
    • If there are more than 10 people in your facility, you must submit a plan to DCYF licensing that outlines how you will limit group congregations to less than 10 people (including staff and residents) at a time:
      • Including mealtimes, leisure activities and supervision.
  • Limit travel to those essential functions needed to maintain the safety and health of children.
    • Essential medical appointments and or treatments.
    • Required and unavoidable court appearances.
  • Limit service provisions to essential needs for the safety and health of the children being served.
    • Anytime you can provide an alternative to in-person service that does not compromise the safety and health of a child you should do so.
  • Be prepared with basic provisions for at least two weeks of quarantine. This includes essential medicine and prescription medications.
  • Utilize nurse hotlines for consultation (1-844-354-9876).
  • For DCYF children, please set up a child’s Teladoc account (now, before there is an actual need).
    • When setting up a Teladoc account, please use the child/youth’s ProviderOne number for the “login id.”
    • If you do not know the child’s ProviderOne number:
      1. Ask the assigned caseworker for the number
      2. Contact the Foster Care Medical Team at 1-800-562-3022 ext. 15480
  • For DCYF children, look at non-emergent medical transportation methods https://www.hca.wa.gov/health-care-services-supports/apple-health-medicaid-coverage/transportation-services-non-emergency. Please contact Fostering Wellbeing Nurses at fwb@dshs.wa.gov or 1-800-422-3263 to assist with arranging non-emergency transportation
  • Screen (using methods described by CDC/DOH) staff, children and all visitors. This screen should include at least the following:
    • Is anyone in the household currently sick?
    • Has anyone in the household been in contact with anyone know to have COVID-19?
    • Does anyone in the household have underlying health conditions?
  • Limit in person visitations to those which cannot be completed through alternative methods:
    • Video conference
    • Phone contact
    • Visitors must pass a screening

If an agency/program is impacted directly by COVID-19:

  • Supervision can be limited to the essential staff/volunteers needed to maintain the safety and health of the children. This may include agency staff normally not direct care workers. Due to the uniqueness of each program, minimal staffing levels must be approved on a case by case bases, as a crisis arises, by the identified DCYF regional COVID-19 teams (Representatives from Licensing, Contracts, and Programs). Contact information for these teams will be forthcoming.
    If the impact is so severe and programs are not able to provide safe staffing levels, they must contact the DCYF team immediately and work with the department on a contingency plan.  
  • Length of stays may be extended as needed if program or children are quarantined
  • Please contact DDA for children in the care and custody of DDA.

Communication will be ongoing as new information, direction and circumstances unfold.  

Stay well,

Your DCYF Licensing Division Team

March 17, 2020

Please follow WAC 110-148-1430 in reporting to DCYF staff and the Washington State Department of Health. For Center for Disease Control (CDC) requirements and guidelines, please visit for additional guidance on how to monitor yourself and keep others around your healthy: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html

March 13, 2020

Please follow WAC 110-145-1535 in reporting to DCYF staff, your employer/group home agency and the Washington State Department of Health. For Center for Disease Control (CDC) requirements and guidelines, please visit for additional guidance on how to monitor yourself and keep others around your healthy: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html

March 13, 2020

We recognize that there are limited resources for respite care, which may decrease due to COVID-19. Approved respite providers are able to provide care in your home. Please contact your licensor if you have identified someone new to provide respite care in your home.

March 13, 2020