Questions & Answers

DCYF Staff

It is an online application portal that will allow prospective applicants to complete the foster care application and licensing forms easily from a computer, tablet, or phone.
It will:
  • Interact with other DCYF systems – including FamLink
  • Support English and monolingual Spanish providers
  • Support caregiver engagement and retention
  • Send automatic notifications to DCYF staff when specific tasks are completed or expiring
  • Allow the ability to track requirements for caregivers
  • Allow potential and existing providers to upload required documentation, such as photo ID, insurance related documentation, etc.
  • Allow electronic signatures
  • Allow caregivers to apply to a CPA or the state without duplicating efforts
  • Allow new CPAs and potential new group care facilities to apply through the portal
  • In addition to training, you will be able to practice using the system before it goes live this Fall
Tentative Schedule
Winter 2020-2021
  • The portal project will kick-off
  • The training team will begin creating tip sheets and help guides for DCYF LD staff
  • Monthly listening sessions with LD leadership and LD staff will be scheduled
  • The vendor will begin creating LD processes within the portal
  • A crosswalk between existing workflow, policies, and procedures and new workflow, policies, and procedures will be available to LD staff
Spring 2021
  • Training of portal power users will begin (supervisors, area administrators, and other identified LD staff positions)
  • Functionality testing by power users will begin
Late Spring 2021
  • User Acceptance Training will begin – this will be completed by a subset of LD staff, CPAs, and tribal partners
  • Train the trainer training will be delivered (to AAs and Supervisors)
  • The test environment (sandbox) will be available to all LD staff
  • Draft of updated policy decisions will be posted for staff comment
Summer 2021
  • LD staff training
  • CPA pilot training
Fall 2021
  • Portal goes live – all new applicants will be using the portal to apply to become caregivers
  • LD staff use portal for their work (LD CPS excepted)
  • New paper applications to be entered into the portal by DCYF staff
  • CPA pilot begins
Winter 2022
  • CPA training for non-pilot CPAs
  • Tribal partner training for non-pilot tribal partners
  • Group care facility functionality is built
Spring 2022
  • All CPAs will use the portal to certify and maintain their homes
  • All tribal partners will use the portal
  • All group care facilities will use the portal.
One of the primary goals of the portal is to reduce the need to input the same information more than once. If information is entered into the portal during the application or renewal process, the expectation is that the information will populate to other areas where it is needed.
We are anticipating that there will be some communication between systems, but to what extent, and how, we do not yet know. Since DCYF is not the “owner” of systems such as the Alliance’s database, we will have to coordinate with those system owners for access to data in their systems.
If no updates have been made to the assessment, the assumption would be that nothing changed unless you made them. The personal information form will live in Binti and can be accessed for updates if needed. The applicant will not have to start over.
We do know with Binti, it asks for DOB and not ages so this will not have to be changed. At this time, it is unclear what needs to be updated to keep the information current. We will provide you with more detail to the question as soon as policy and procedures are developed.
The Home Study update process does not change with the new approach. Updates required for purposes of adoption will be completed, per policy.

Per policy 5100, adoption updates are required when:

  1. There are changes within the family, e.g. divorce, someone new moves in the home, a medical condition or significant change affecting the caregiver’s ability to care for children.
  2. The needs or characteristics of a child considered for adoption is significantly different than when the family was assessed in a previously approved Home Study.
  3. Families have previously adopted a child and are adopting another child that is outside the recommendations on the previous Home Study.
  4. The local court requires an update.
No nothing is happening yet. Binti and the Tiered Home Study model will happen at the same time.
The intent is to have the Home Study and the provider portal begin at the same time. Timeline for portal is to have it up and running for staff and external state applicants on November 1st. Four pilot CPA’s would be potentially 30-60 days after that. In 2022 we are planning to identify a cohort approach to transitioning CPA agencies into the portal.
QA/CQI rolled out an interim Home Study guide in January 2020. The new Home Study will not align with the guide because it was for interim purposes. GOOD NEWS is much of what's in the guide is built into the new Home Study. There is a new Home Study guide (in-process) that will help with navigation of the new Home Study and the tiered process.

On March 11, 2021 a Home Study guideline for regional licensing was published. This is also an interim guide.

This is the goal, but we are not sure how this will happen. We are working with Binti to build out auto reminders. For example, 1st aid and CPA. The assigned worker will get a notification of a change.

The next CPA monthly meeting will be Monday, June 7th 2021 at 2:00 pm.

The following email addresses are for those who want an invite sent for the meetings. An invite was sent on 4/27/21.

Caylie Sciglibaglio caylie@youthnetnw.net   

Melissa Rios melissar@friendsofyouth.org 

Amber Wong: amber-wong@olivecrest.org   

Mandy Morlin: mandy.morlin@puyalluptribe-nsn.gov 

Christie Lolohea: christie@citymin.org 

Alyssa Leon: aleon@seattleymca.org 

Anna Bachinsky: anna@citymin.org 

Lynn Biggs  cayon@casey.org 

Nicole Mazen: nicole@amarafamily.org 

Amy Biemeck: amy-biemeck@olivecrest.org 

Ron Murphy: rmurphy@casey.org 

Beth Hamoud: bhamoud@seattleymca.org 

Gabe Gregory: gabe.gregory@servicealternatives.com

Foster Parents & New Caregivers

This is a great question, and yes, the portal will be your primary source for updating information, including driver’s licenses, auto insurance, CPR/First Aid and background checks for children in your home who turn 16, among other features. There will still be an option to provide that record to your licensor, in cases where internet service is not available or other technical issues, but the portal will be available 24/7 for you to directly and efficiently provide information to the Licensing Division.
Yes! The portal will be your guide to completing all the necessary steps to become licensed to provide care for your grandchild. If you do not wish to be licensed and receive the additional financial benefit, the portal will still be your resource for applying.

Child Placing Agency

Yes! It is anticipated that CPA’s will have their own portal home page, where they can manage their own contact information and provide potential applicants information about their agency and the communities they serve. Further, the CPA’s will be able to input their work into the portal and have that information automatically transferred to the assigned regional licensor with DCYF. This improves service and reduces wait times for licensing of homes that CPA’s certify.
The Portal link is expected to be ready around Fall 2021 – we will share the link once the Portal build is complete. To access current information, check back regularly. Any updates will be found on the DCYF Foster Parent Application Portal page.

The page features:

  • Contact information – for questions, comments, concerns
  • Foster Care Provider Portal Distribution List– sign up for portal information
  • Q&A – your question may have already been asked
  • Racial Equity & Social Justice – our pro-equity approach to this work
  • Communications Updates – if you do not get the email updates, you can find them here
  • Child Placing Agencies – our monthly meeting link
Binti is a Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product. It will be modified to meet our business needs, and the CPA interface portion is being created for Washington State.
Pilot CPAs are anticipated to be functional by the end of 2021. The remaining CPAs will engage in Cohorts in 2022 to go live, with training and support from Licensing Division (LD). For additional information on the project schedule, visit https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/practice/practice-improvement/foster-parent-application- portal/schedule
The approval process for licenses will flow in much the same way as it does currently; however, the goal is to automate the process and not rely on emails between the agency licensor and LD Regional Licensor. The Regional Licensor (RL) will have access to the file, so when the agency is ready for review, the RL will be able to retrieve all the information to determine readiness. The RL could even have done some preliminary review, which would reduce the time needed to assess. This should improve timelines and prove more efficient than emailing documents, questions, and further information back and forth.
Exactly how this will work is still early in formation and development, but it would be expected that the program will allow for assignment to be transferred from one agency to another and from/to LD and CPAs. Binti would retain all the material in the existing record and make that material available to the new CPA.
We appreciate this recommendation, and it will be considered.
If an applicant completes a process in Binti that is also output to a form, there is the ability to update the information and create the new form. The old form will not be lost and will show as a prior version. As well, if signatures are required, the applicant will be prompted to sign again.
The interface, or API, is going to transmit data from Binti to the CPA. It will not be a two-way interface at this time.
If an applicant completes a process in Binti that is also output to a form, there is the ability to update the information and create the new form. The old form will not be lost and will show as a prior version. As well, if signatures are required, the applicant will be prompted to sign again.
The program is built for two languages. If additional languages are needed, applicants will be prompted to contact the CPA, who would then utilize existing practices to work with the family in the language that is familiar to the applicant.
Yes, the portal will be compatible with all devices, including cell phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
No, it is a web-based, online system that works best in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
The portal will be available in English and Spanish. Additional language support will be provided utilizing existing practices and policies within LD and DCYF.
Although this functionality has not yet be finalized, it is anticipated that Binti will process all moves, renewals, modifications and amendments.
We wrote into the requirements that the system should allow licenses to be transferred easily between CPAs and DCYF, as well as between CPA’s. Our policy needs to be developed, such as whether or not a new home study will need to be completed. More information related to this will be forthcoming.
In general, research shows that approximately 10% of applicants do not use online systems. For those instances, someone from DCYF will need to enter the data into the system. This could be after the documents are received, during interviews with the family, or in whatever way is most efficient for the home study specialist. More information will be coming on that.
This is currently being researched, reviewed and considered. Policy and practices changes will need to be made, and more information will be presented as it is obtained.

As to the question of knowing what is still missing and following up, staff will be able to see the applicants submissions, entries and progress within Binti. They will be able to inform the applicant of missing information, indicate to the applicant around new information needed, and in cases where it is necessary, submit that information on behalf of the applicant. Future walkthroughs of the program will provide more detail on these processes.

Documents, image files and various other types of files can be uploaded into the portal, by either the applicant or the home study specialist.
Respite functionality is currently under review. More information will be forthcoming.
This is unknown at this time. As more is learned about this ability, information will be updated.
This is still a work in progress, and there are options for LD. There are various ways to address the different “tracks” (licensing, kinship, adoption, etc), and those are currently being explored. More information will be forthcoming.
Yes, people will be able to switch tracks without filling out all new paperwork.
This is something that many people have requested and is on the radar for desired functionality.
There are system requirements in place to reduce/minimize the number of duplicate entries.
We have a full set of security requirements for the portal and Binti is contractually bound to meeting those requirements. We also audit Binti to make sure that all data is secure (encrypted) both in transit (while moving over the internet) and at rest (when stored in databases). We are currently looking at the ways to make sure that when a user logs onto the system they are actually the user that they say they are.
The system will log all entries, including user information, so we will be able to see who is entering the information.
Yes, a team is reviewing each form to ensure it aligns with recommendations from the Task Forces, WAC/Policy changes, and that it works as an electronic form. The team includes subject experts for each form type. Please email the Foster Care Portal Support inbox at dcyf.fostercareportal@dcyf.wa.gov if you have specific input about forms.
Yes, you can find the current forms posted here: https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/services/foster-parenting/forms. Applicants and workers will primarily access the new forms through Binti. As we get closer to go live, you will also find the paper versions of the updated forms there.

Some documentation is required, such as the Applicant Medical Report, form 13-001. Other documentation may be required on a case-by-case basis. Please reference WAC 110-148-1370 for more information.

Child Placing Agencies (CPAs) can also ask for additional documentation to support the verification process associated with the identified mitigation strategy.

If counseling contributed to the mitigation of a specific indicator, the licensor should mark the box for the corresponding mitigation strategy and document how the counseling contributed to resilience or mitigation within the narrative section. If counseling is the mitigation strategy for several indicators, then the same box would be checked, but specific descriptive narrative would be required to identify how this mitigation strategy contributed to resilience or mitigation for each indicator.

One goal for the Tiered Unified Home Study was to eliminate as many barriers and redundancies as possible without having a negative impact on child outcomes. When the Tiered Unified Home Study model goes into effect, we encourage everyone to provide feedback through the DCYF Foster Parent Application Portal Webpage or the Child Placing Agencies subpage on the DCYF Foster Care Application Portal webpage.

CPAs will continue to mitigate any criminal history the applicant discloses based on what the crime/s are and timeframe associated with the crime/s. Within the Tiered model, “Background Check Clearance” is an indicator so it may be appropriate to address background check within that section. However, if the background check pertains to other sections of the home study, it could be a better fit within that other section. For example, if an applicant has a conviction for domestic violence, information pertaining to that conviction may be represented in the relationship history section.

There is no set timeframe for assessing CPS or criminal history to determine if services would be beneficial or assessing what has changed for the applicants. However, no unfounded, inconclusive, or screened-out report of child abuse or neglect may be used to deny employment or a license (RCW 74.15.130(2)(a).

Ideally, we would like applicants to use the same email address that they used to gain access to Binti. Binti uses the unique email address to associate with the applicant. If the unique email address changes, it will change throughout the applicant record.

The Well-Being Assessment will be included when your agency starts using Binti.

There will be some customization for each CPA to use, but we don’t have specific information on the fields, forms and processes at this time.

Binti gives workers the ability to upload a completed document provided to the worker in paper format. Applicants have specific areas where they are prompted to upload something, such as an image of their driver’s license or training certificate. The prior upload will be replaced by the new upload, but the log on the workers side will retain the history.

The goal is to make the review process less cumbersome and streamlined. We’ll have more information soon on how that will work, since there’s not a set methodology for that yet.

It’s not done until it’s signed by the worker and the Supervisor has provided their edits. Supervisor will also sign, once those edits are done.

There is an ability to put agency-specific forms in the section where agency forms will live, as part of the normal workflow process. If there’s a one-off form that you want to upload, there’s an ability to upload miscellaneous documents. Just a note that CPAs are required to use the state forms that are in Binti.

The goal is to make it as efficient as possible for all of us to work together to get it done. If a Regional Licensor has access to it as it’s a work in progress, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The bigger question is when is it done and when does the Regional Licensor know it’s done? This is a future discussion item, if there are some concerns around having it available in the process, or only once it’s completed and ready.

Yes, there is an application history log which shows all of the work that was done within that particular application.

We are still building this and working out the kinks for this process.

Please email Marj Trudnowski to make sure you’re on the list for future trainings once we announce the details: marjorie.trudnowski@dcyf.wa.gov.  We’ll reach out to the four CPA pilots once we’re ready with the new Home Study training and they’ll train alongside our staff. We’ll roll the new approach out to all of our CPAs next year close to the roll-out of the new portal – it’s meant to be one training package.

We’re still waiting to see how long the process will take with the four pilot CPAs. We think there will be one cohort rolled out every 4-6 weeks, because we need to get all of the CPAs onboard in the next 12-18 months.

At this time, we’re still deciding how we’ll pick and group the cohorts. We would like that decision to be made in partnership with the CPAs and with Binti, with regards to their capacity. We have 162 group care facilities that will be using Binti as well and they’ll get on board during that same timeframe.

Several of our CPA partners participated in the task force groups that focused on improving the licensing process. Regional Licensing are also involved in the Binti mapping sessions. In addition, Binti will be working with all the CPAs in the next several months gathering information.

September 2022 will be the start date for the pilot CPAs.

There are several ways of supporting workers in Binti. Using filters, workers can identify items that expire or are nearly expiring. As well, using the drip emails and other automated email processes, you can provide notification to users around expiring items, such as auto insurance, as well as the ability, in some instances, to automatically enter a note in the provider record.

Binti does not replace your practices or policies; it supplements them. It also provides you with an electronic file. So if your agency practices are to verify, you would still do that, but in Binti. CPA licensors will be able to look at the uploaded documents and edit expiration dates as needed.

Current licensed provider information will be imported from FamLink into Binti. Attachments and documents will not be because they do not exist in FamLink. Homes initiated through Binti will. No old documents will be required to be in Binti. Moving forward (e.g., renewal items and new applications) will be submitted through Binti.

Yes, the personal information form will be completed in Binti. The personal information form will be a part of the application paperwork included in Binti.

DCYF will import families with active family foster care licenses into Binti for you. You can add additional information, such as documents or images, to the provider record once it is migrated from FamLink, but DCYF LD and IT will import all your existing provider records.

DCYF has asked the feds about CPAs applying for and receiving federal funding. The CPAs cannot get federal funding for the work to implement their API. The state does not have funding for the work for CPAs to implement their API. The CPAs are responsible for creating their side of the API coding to send content from the CPA's IT system to Binti, receive data from Binti's API, and import it to the CPAs IT system. The state and Binti will support those CPAs in implementing the data exchange.

Yes, within the application process in Binti, there is a hyperlink to the BCS to initiate a background check. Binti prompts applicants to click on the background link to complete the BAF and return to Binti to enter the online confirmation code.

The online background check portal is not a DCYF system; it is a DSHS system. This request will be forwarded to DSHS for consideration.

It is acceptable to do a paper Background Application Form (BAF) in these situations.

DCYF has asked the feds about CPAs applying for and receiving federal funding. The CPAs cannot get federal funding for the work to implement their API. The state does not have funding for the work for CPAs to implement their API. CPAs who have IT systems are responsible for the operation and maintenance of their IT systems. The API is part of that system, and the CPA will have to pay for the work to implement the API. The state and Binti will support those CPAs in implementing the data exchange.

Tribal Partners

Yes! It is expected that Tribes will be able to access necessary information in the portal, as well as perform their certification or licensure work, depending upon the role of the Tribe. Many tribal workers have read-only access to parts of FamLink, the current Child Welfare computer system, and we are planning to provide that same level of access. For Tribes that act as their own CPA’s, the portal will provide them the same experience as noted above, under CPA Q & A.

If you have questions, would like to provide a comment, or would like more information, please send an email to dcyf.fostercareportal@dcyf.wa.gov.  We strive to answer every question or comment that is submitted, but please know that due to volume, your question may not be answered directly. However, it will be recorded, submitted to the appropriate person/workgroup, and may be used in future Q and A posts.