DCYF will be transitioning to an online caregiver application system. 
To ensure a smooth rollout, DCYF is pausing new foster parent applications from Nov. 1, 2022 - Mar. 1, 2023.
This does not apply to kinship applications, license renewals, and those getting licensed through a child placing agency. 

Licensing Requirements

Thank you for your interest in becoming a licensed foster parent! This page contains information about:

  • Types of licenses
  • Options for getting licensed
  • Getting licensed
  • Turning in your application materials
  • Continuing education requirements for foster parents

Relatives and close family friends should visit Kinship Care: Relatives and Close Family Friends, to learn more about getting licensed as a kinship foster parent or completing your home study.

Did you know there is more than one way to be a foster parent? 

You can be approved to provide:

Foster Care

Foster care parents are ready to parent the number of children or youth who are within the age range on their license.

Respite Care

  • Certified Respite Providers
    Individuals who go through the certification process can provide support in any licensed foster home. Individuals can provide respite support to a general home or a specific home with who they know. The respite is provided in the licensed foster home. 
  • Licensed Respite Care Providers
    Licensed caregivers who provide time-limited, temporary care to another foster parent’s foster children in the respite provider's home. 
    Respite care is a great way to start fostering especially if you have not parented or supervised children and youth experiencing foster care.

You can chose to work with State Licensing or a Child Placing Agency. 

Path Toward Licensure 

  • There is no right or wrong path. 
  • All paths lead to the same place - caring for children and youth experiencing foster care. 
  • Consider all options and the best fit for your family. 

DCYF’s Licensing Division oversees the certification of all licenses, whether State or CPA

State Licensing 

  • Work directly with the local Licensing Division 
  • Foster families make placement decisions independently 
  • Foster parents work directly with DCYF staff 
  • Self-advocate for specific needs, services, and resources 

Child Placing Agency 

  • Work directly with a local private agency 
  • CPA and caregiver coordinate placement decisions 
  • CPA provides advocacy for family and child needs, services, and resources 
  • Services provided or coordinated by agency 
  • Families receive individualized support and case management from the CPA

Child Placement Agency Contact Lists

What region am I in?

DCYF Regional Map

There are four main steps to getting licensed. Select any of the steps below to learn more about what is included:

To get licensed, you need to complete these trainings:

  • Caregiver Core Training (CCT)
  • First-Aid, CPR and Blood-Borne Pathogens
Caregiver Core Training (CCT)

* Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all CCT trainings are online until in-person training can safely resume.

Caregiver Core Training is:

  • Required to get licensed (please note that CCT is recommended for all caregivers but only required for primary caregivers) 
  • Provided online
  • Made up of 8, 3-hour sessions that you complete at your own pace
  • Experiential and includes a field experience and coaching session
  • Sometimes referred to as “CCT,” “Caregiver Core,” or “Pre-Service.”

Our partners at The Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence provide CCT.

First-Aid, CPR and Blood-Borne Pathogens

All caregivers are required to take a first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and blood-borne pathogens course in order to get licensed. If you have a current and active medical license or certificate you may submit this with your application for review in order to satisfy the requirement.

To register for a class in your area, visit:

CPR and First Aid for Foster Parents (Keep the Beat) | UW School of Social Work Professional Education

Below are the foster home application forms you need to complete to get licensed. 

The forms listed are for the entire foster household.  You only need to complete one form for each household.

These forms are for each prospective foster parent. Complete one form for each applicant.

The Licensing Application Checklist is a helpful tool to track the forms you have turned into LD. You are not required to turn in the checklist.

Scroll down to the next section on this page that explains how to turn in your application materials.

After you turn in your foster home application, you will be assigned a LD staff person.  The LD staff person will connect with you and help you navigate these tasks:

  • Completing interviews, both in-person and virtually - at least one of which must happen in your home and include the home inspection.
    • Wondering what LD staff are looking for during the home inspection?  Review the Foster Home Licensing Inspection Checklist.
    • The checklist requires foster license applicants to review and agree to follow Washington State Administrative Code (WAC), or licensing rules. Please review the WAC.
    • You will complete this checklist with LD staff during your home inspection.
  • Interviewing household members including your children.
  • Contacting your adult children (if you have adult children).
  • For couples, LD staff will complete at least one interview with both adults and another interview with each adult individually.

Use the instructions and regional contacts identified below to turn in your application materials.

To start the application process, you need to turn in your completed:

The other forms listed above and proof of required trainings can be sent to:

  • One of individuals listed below, OR
  • The LD staff who contacts you after you turn in your Family Home Study Application and Background Check Authorizations forms.

If you are getting licensed by a child placing agency (CPA), turn your application materials in to your CPA.

Send complete licensing applications to your regional Licensing Division team.

Regional Contacts

What region am I in?

DCYF Regional Map

  • All licensed family foster homes (including those licensed by private agencies and LD) are required to complete ongoing training.
  • Continuing education requirement for licensed caregivers is 24 training hours for each three-year licensing period.
    • Foster parents must take racial equity and social justice (RESJ) training during their first and second three-year licensing periods.
    • CPR, First Aid, and Blood-Borne Pathogens do not count toward the 24 hour training requirement.
    • Foster parents can carry over up to twelve hours into the next three-year licensing period. 
  • The Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence provides training that all caregivers can attend.  They offer classes on many subjects such as mental health, behavior management and supporting youth transitioning to independence. Visit their webpage to learn more!  Allianceforchildwelfare.org
  • Caregivers can also attend trainings at community colleges, universities, community organizations, private agencies, the Alliance CaRES, and conferences.  Please contact LD staff with questions including to find out if a particular training will meet your continuing education requirements..

Thank you again for your time and interest in becoming a licensed foster parent!