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.

DCYF and the Plaintiffs reached a Settlement Agreement June 6, 2022 and which was ordered by the court September 21, 2022. The purpose of the Settlement Agreement and 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.

The draft Implementation Plan was posted June 2, 2023. The public and the Plaintiffs had 30 days (by July 3) to respond to the draft plan with inquiries and feedback. DCYF had 30 days (by August 2) to finalize the plan.

Monitoring Progress

Based on best judgment, the implementation plan identifies core strategies and activities for each System Improvement that may be revised based on new information. Respectively, the System Improvement Leads will report on their initial data and progress towards meeting the System Improvements identified in the Data Addendum report.  

The Data Addendum is the second part to DCYF’s implementation plan and addresses:

  1. Final exit criteria and quality assurance benchmarks for each System Improvement
  2. A way of tracking whether Class Members are being served in the least restrictive and most integrated setting
  3. The methodology for measuring and tracking Defendants’ progress toward achieving each System Improvement and any intermediary steps
  4. The methodology for measuring and tracking progress toward achieving each of the exit criteria set forth in paragraphs 37-45
  5. The approach for determining capacity needs for 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.


Since September 2022, DCYF Leads have been working to draft the Implementation Plan for each of the eight System Improvements. April 21, 2023 marked the delivery of the findings and recommendations from the contracted stakeholder engagement required by the Settlement Agreement. These findings and recommendations help form the 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).




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