Foster Parent Application Portal

DCYF is in the midst of designing and implementing a new online foster parent and kinship caregiver application portal. We are working with Binti – a California- based software company that has worked with more than 120 government and private agencies – to transform and modernize foster care systems. DCYF believes that by streamlining our foster and kinship care processes with user-friendly tools, we will be able to increase and diversify the population of licensed and unlicensed care providers. Efficiencies acquired by replacing paper-driven processes will allow DCYF to speed up safe and legally permanent transitions to youth in out of home placement. You can read more about Binti at Binti.com/about.

The portal development is driven by staff and stakeholders. To prepare for the actual system build, a group of 92 participants responded to an open call to work on improving licensing processes. Nine Practice Improvement Task Forces met from early spring 2020 through late fall 2020 to study current processes and make recommendations for improvements.

Who was involved in this business decision-making process?

  • Existing Caregivers
  • DCYF Licensing Division (LD) Staff
  • DCYF (non-LD) Staff
  • Community Partners
  • Child Placing Agency Members
  • Tribal Agencies, including volunteers from the Muckleshoot, Puyallup, and Lummi Tribes, and SPIPA, and the Yakima Nation.

You can see the executive summary each task force created – on the Practice Improvement Task Force link to the left.

How will the portal benefit children?

  • Decreasing the time to qualify families as caregivers.
  • Eliminate duplicate entry of information and reduce dependence upon paper forms.
  • Decreasing placement interruptions for children in care.
  • Decreasing the drop-out rate of licensed homes.
  • Increasing the number of licensed kinship caregivers to improve access to resources. Currently, only 12% of kinship caregivers get licensed. 
  • Decreasing the total number of placements experienced by children in care.   
  • Children will achieve permanency earlier by allowing caregivers to easily move from being a foster parent to an adoptive parent.

Who will use the portal?

  • LD Staff
  • General Foster Care Applicants
  • Kinship Caregivers
  • Child Placing Agencies
  • Group Care Facilities
  • Other DCYF users, with varying access levels depending upon the role and need

Staff Impacts

Providing tracking tools for staff for:

  • Workload
  • Workflow
  • Application Status
  • Required Additional Documents

The implementation of a new system brings hope, fears, and lots of growing pains.

The portal looks to:

  • Improve the state’s foster care licensing system usability.
  • Streamline the Home Study Process by creating a singular Tiered Home Study that DCYF and Stakeholders will use.
  • Automate existing paper practices.
  • Provide tools for efficient recruitment and retention of foster parents.
  • Provide a single application source to prospective and existing caregivers.
  • Provide the Department, Stakeholders, the media, and the Legislature with measurable, quantifiable, and meaningful outcomes.

Nine practice improvement task forces met throughout 2020 to develop modernized workflow processes, identify and recommended changes to policies and procedures, and to define resolutions to the specific workflow that satisfy RCW, WAC and/or policy in preparation of the foster care provider portal implementation. For additional information, please visit the Task Force Executive Summaries document
 

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