The Family Connections Program is a framework to build relationships between all the important people in a foster child's life.
In January, Health and Human Services repealed a rule that prohibited government contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE) or on religion. We applaud DCYF’s stance and stand with others across the state against any form of discrimination in alignment with the equity commitment adopted by our members last month: Members shall commit to removing practices and policies that lead to poor outcomes for people of color in the child welfare system. WACF will ensure all policy, advocacy and practice improvement changes have a focus on removing racism. We value providing best practice that promotes improved outcomes for children and youth regardless of their economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, language, or age.
Welcome to our newest WACF Board Member Julie Brown, from the Y Social Impact Center. Julie is serving as the chair of the newly formed WACF Independent Living Division. Julie has been with the Y Social Impact Center for 7 years, and leads Foster Care Transitions. She has focused her career on adolescents and young adults, starting about 20 years ago supporting youth transitioning out of correctional institutions, and then providing BRS support to boys 13 - 17. We’re fortunate to have Julie’s expertise and passion as an addition to our WACF Board!
Choosing to become a foster parent is a major decision that will make a huge difference in a foster child’s life — and it will change your life too. For anyone who is considering becoming a foster parent, or anyone who just wants to learn about how to support foster children, this free video course is a great place to begin. Access the free webinar here: https://foster.wachildrenandfamilies.org/courses/foster/
WACF recognizes racial equity as a priority in preventing families from entering foster care, improving the disproportionality of foster families and reducing the number of youth of color in group care. We are dedicated to advocacy and policy and practice improvement that eliminate racism within the child welfare system. Our members recently voted to update WACF bylaws to more clearly state our shared commitment to racial equity: https://wachildrenandfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/WACF-Bylaws-1.19.21.pdf.
Kelly Warner-King of the Washington Court Improvement Training Academy recently added a post with a wealth of information and resources on children and youth mental health during the pandemic: https://www.wacita.org/covid-19-impact-on-the-mental-health-of-children-and-youth-in-care/.
Also the Department of Health (DOH) is monitoring current and potential issues related to behavioral health during the pandemic through regular reports that are informed by disaster research. This is a fabulous resource for everyone – whether individually, for workforce considerations or for understanding and responding to the impact on children and families. This is available in the Reports section on the DOH Behavioral Health Resource and Recommendations webpage: Click here for website.
And here is a link to their December 2020 report: Click here for report
Foster Care Centers of Excellence are medical centers that are created for youth in the child welfare system with a goal to make health care easier. They provide high quality, trauma-informed medical care on a one-time basis or serve as a Primary Care Provider, and provide a variety of services. Foster Care Centers of Excellence also team up with Coordinated Care of Washington, Inc. when needed. New Foster Care Centers of Excellence have been opened in Seattle and Spokane. See flyer for more information.
Amy has worked the last 11 years with Denver Public Schools. Her background is in strategy and improvement, data and reporting. She is also a former kinship foster parent and now an adoptive parent of three kids. Amy will support Jill across many areas of WACF, but in particular will be developing the strategic plan for WACF that will take advantage of the opportunity of our new 501(c)(3) organization.
This group has been active for several months and is currently focused on contracts, data issues and improving communication with DCYF. The IL Chair is Julie Brown from the Y Social Impact Center and the vice chair is Sara Rylaarsdam from Youthnet. Thank you to Julie and Sara for volunteering! To find out more, please visit: https://wachildrenandfamilies.org/independent-living-division/.
This will allow us to provide more practice support to our members, and flexibility to apply for private and government grants.
To find out more, check out https://wachildrenandfamilies.org/wacf-institute-for-practice-improvement/.