Washington Foster Care and Adoption

When a child cannot safely live with his or her biological family, they enter foster care. In Washington, though, we don’t have enough foster families to care for them. So, children are increasingly spending nights in hotels or in DCYF offices. Holt is actively seeking safe and nurturing families for these children — whether a temporary foster family, or a permanent family through adoption. Many of these children have come from hard beginnings, and they need the stability, care and support of a family, rather than spending each night in a different hotel room or a sleeping bag on an office floor.

If you live in Snohomish, King or Pierce counties and are interested in fostering or adopting from Washington’s foster care system, Holt can efficiently guide you through the training and homestudy process, help match your family’s strengths to the needs of a child or sibling group, and support you after placement occurs.

Why Choose Holt?


Personalized Care and Guidance

We take a caring and personalized approach with each of our families. Our professional staff will get to know you and your family as they guide you through every step of this process.


Thorough Preparation

Once you are ready to move forward with adoption, a Holt social worker will help you to thoroughly and efficiently complete your homestudy, often in an accelerated timeframe compared to working directly with the state. At Holt, we take very seriously our responsibility to fully assess your family’s strengths and skills. We spend time getting to know your family, help you process and apply your foster parent training, and prepare you to navigate the foster care system.


Individualized Advocacy

Because we know you and your family well, we are able to professionally and authentically describe how your family is an ideal option for the needs of a specific child, based on your training and our assessment. Your Holt social worker will represent you during an adoption committee process, in which a group of adoption professionals come together to choose the most suitable family for a specific child from among several eligible families.​


Trauma-Informed Care

At Holt, we believe in the evidence-based parenting approach known as Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)®. Designed for families of kids who have experienced trauma, TBRI helps parents correct their children’s behavior without compromising their emotional connection. Our staff will provide information and training, as well as guidance as you apply this model to your parenting once your child is home. If you choose to welcome a child into your family through adoption, Holt will provide lifelong support for your entire family through our extensive post-adoption services.

Start Your Foster Care Adoption Journey:

Holt’s foster care adoption staff is excited to hear from you! Contact our recruiter at 206.922.1515 or fostercare@holtinternational.org.


Explore the average length of the adoption process, fees and expenses, parent eligibility and the needs of children waiting for a family.

Washington Adoption Questions

The Foster Care & Adoption Process

Parenting a child from the foster care system can take varying paths and lengths of time. Below is a general description of the process for fostering and/or adopting a child through the Washington state foster care system. We will be with you every step of the way to ensure that this process goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

  • Gather Information

    After you reach out to us, the first step will be for us to get to know you and answer all of your questions. You may have some general ideas about the profile of child you are hoping to parent, whether you only want to adopt or are open to fostering, or the types of backgrounds or trauma histories you’re comfortable with. However, you are welcome to change your mind about these topics after training and during the homestudy process. We will work together to help you determine whether this program is the right path for you.

  • Application & Orientation

    Once you have gathered information and are ready to move forward, please complete an online application. Once we receive your application and payment, we will reach out to schedule an individual orientation meeting. During this orientation, Holt staff will talk through next steps and answer any outstanding questions you may have before we begin your homestudy assessment.

  • Complete Required Training

    All Washington families must complete Caregiver Core Training, offered at various times and locations throughout western Washington. You will also be invited to Holt’s “Family Friday” training, offered at our Renton office. There will be a few other training requirements, and we’ll help you complete those trainings as needed.

  • Homestudy Assessment

    Holt’s foster care & adoption staff will conduct a full assessment of your background, motivation for fostering and/or adopting, and your readiness to apply what you learned in training. We will also complete a home safety check. If both you and your social worker agree that you are ready to move forward, you will work together to create a child profile, and your social worker will write a homestudy report that will represent you to the state when considering whether to match a child with your family. The homestudy process is a time of mutual assessment, and applicants are not guaranteed an approved homestudy.

  • Foster Care License

    In Washington, Holt requires all families to obtain a foster care license, even if you plan to only accept placement of children who are legally free for adoption. This license will allow your family to be considered for a larger pool of children and will enable your family to receive monthly reimbursement payments from the state until permanency is achieved. We will walk you through this process to submit all required paperwork and answer any questions the state may have about your license application.

  • Matching Process

    Once your homestudy is approved and you receive your license, we will work with you to identify a child or children whose needs might best be met by your family. It’s important to acknowledge that only state workers with DCYF make all final placement decisions.

  • Referral

    Once a child’s state worker has identified your family as a possible fit for a child, we will support you through the process to be selected as that child’s foster and/or adoptive family. If selected, placement can occur very quickly. At other times, a child may not join your family until a thoughtful plan for preplacement visits can be completed.

  • Placement

    Once a child is placed in your home, your Holt foster care & adoption (FCA) specialist will begin visiting your home to support you in parenting, help problem-solve and identify resources, serve as a liaison between your family and Washington DCYF, and coach you as you implement the TBRI® model in parenting children from hard places. During this placement period, the child will join your family as a foster care placement, which will bring several new people and rules into your life. This status also qualifies you to receive monthly reimbursements from the state to help with the increased costs of parenting a child while in foster care. Your Holt FCA specialist will also be submitting required reports to DCYF throughout the duration of the foster care placement.

  • Permanency

    Each child in foster care has a permanency plan. Most often, the plan is to reunify children with their biological families. The next option is to find permanency with other relatives or the child’s current foster family. Only after these options have been ruled out will the state begin to identify an adoptive home. Most often, a child’s permanency plan is a concurrent plan, which involves working towards reunification while identifying a family open to adoption should reunification not be in the child’s best interest. We will help you think through possible matches, and support you as a child’s case progresses through the legal system towards permanency. You will be called upon to help a child reunify with parents or relatives, if that becomes their path to permanency. However, should adoption be identified as the best option for the child, we will support you through a negotiation for adoption assistance, if needed, and will help you assist your child through this profound transition. We will be available to update your homestudy, if required by the court. However, you will need to hire an adoption attorney to represent your family in the court finalization hearing.

Adoption Inquiry/Application

Washington Foster Care Inquiry Form

Washington Foster Care Adoption Application

Foster Care and Adoption Info Meetings

If you would like to learn more, consider attending one of Holt's foster care & adoption info meetings. Our staff will walk you through the types of homes needed by children, why children enter the foster care system, the process for children and for families, program fees, and next steps. To attend, please see the upcoming dates below and RSVP by emailing or calling us.

For more information, please contact Melissa Reese at 206.922.1515 or fostercare@holtinternational.org.

DATE: Tuesday, September 15th

DATE: Thursday, October 15th
TIME: 6:30pm (ONLINE)

DATE: Thursday, November 19th
TIME: 6:30pm (ONLINE)

DATE: Tuesday, December 15th
TIME: 6:30pm (ONLINE)



Holt International is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. EIN: 23-7257390.