D.S. Lawsuit Settlement

The D.S. Class Action Complaint (Original Pleading) was filed January 29, 2021 on behalf of a Class of foster children and youth, followed by sending the Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement sent between June 28 and July 1, 2022.

The Settlement Agreement was agreed upon June 6, 2022 and ordered by the court September 21, 2022. The purpose of this Agreement and Settlement Order is to set forth a plan and process for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and Ross Hunter, in his official capacity as Secretary of DCYF, to better provide for dependent children with behavioral health and developmental disabilities to be promptly reunified with their families and adequately supported while in out-of-home care.

Eight system improvements are identified in the Settlement Agreement. Implementation of each system improvement is required and will be monitored by the Court Monitor until the exit criteria are met.

In order to respond to the requirements of the Settlement Agreement DCYF submitted the 2023-2025 Regular Budget Policy Level Decision Package in September 2022.


Since September, DCYF leads have been working hard drafting the implementation plans for each of the eight system improvements required by the D.S. Settlement Agreement. April 21 marked the delivery of the findings and recommendations from the contracted stakeholder engagement required by the settlement. These findings and recommendations will help inform the implementation plans of three of the eight system improvements: the Kinship Engagement Unit (section 4.10), Family Group Planning (4.11), and Referrals and Transitions (4.12).  

By June 2 the draft implementation plan will be posted for feedback along with the D.S. email address for inquiries and to send feedback. The public and the Plaintiffs will have 30 days to respond to the draft plans. Then DCYF will have 30 days to finalize the plans and begin implementation.

Monitoring Progress

DCYF will report to the Court Monitor quarterly starting February 2023. The quarterly reporting will include data requested by the Court Monitor as identified in the Settlement Agreement and measure progress towards each system improvement.

System Improvements

DCYF committed to achieving these eight System Improvements, guided by the goals of the Settlement Agreement:

Emerging Adulthood Housing Program - Develop and implement an array of supported statewide housing for young people ages 16-20 years who prefer to live independently.

Professional Therapeutic Foster Care - Develop and implement a contract and licensing category for therapeutic foster parent professionals to support children with developmental disabilities or behavioral health needs.

Statewide Hub Home Model Program - Develop and implement a statewide Hub Home Model focused on caring for young people with a current or a history of behavioral health needs.

Revising Licensing Standards - Amend contracts and policies and engage in negotiated rule-making to amend requirements for foster care placements to be more developmentally appropriate and flexible to meet individual youth’s needs.

Kinship Engagement Unit - Establish a statewide unit to identify and engage Class Members’ extended family members and friends to support families in safely reunifying or staying together. A contracted stakeholder process will assist with developing, implementing, and evaluating this system improvement.

Family Group Planning - Review Shared Planning Meeting policies and practices for improvements and revise in response to stakeholder input. A contracted stakeholder process will assist with developing, implementing, and evaluating this system improvement.

Referrals and Transitions - Develop referral and transition protocols in response to feedback from lived experience and other stakeholders. A contracted stakeholder process will assist with developing, implementing, and evaluating this system improvement.

Qualified Residential Treatment Programs - Increase the frequency of and improve the process for QRTP assessments.


If you would like free copies of this publication in an alternative format or language, please contact DCYF Constituent Relations at 1-800-723-4831 or email communications@dcyf.wa.gov.

Si quiere obtener copias gratuitas de esta publicación en un formato o idioma alternativo, comuníquese con Relaciones con los Electores (Constituent Relations) del Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). Para ello, llame al 1-800-723-4831 o envíe un correo electrónico a communications@dcyf.wa.gov.

Haddii aad jeclaan lahayd nuqulo lacag la'aan ah oo ah daabacaadan oo qaab kale ama luqad kale ah, fadlan kala xiriir Xiriirka Degmada DYFF ee ah 1-800-723-4831 ama iimaylka communications@dcyf.wa.gov.

Если вы хотите получить бесплатные копии этой публикации в другом формате или на другом языке, обратитесь в отдел связей DCYF (Department of Children, Youth and Their Families) по номеру 1-800-723-4831 или электронной почте communications@dcyf.wa.gov.