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.
Holt’s foster care adoption staff is excited to hear from you! Contact our recruiter at 206.922.1515 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explore the average length of the adoption process, fees and expenses, parent eligibility and the needs of children waiting for a family.
Children who are in foster care and in need of permanency through adoption can range in age from 8 to 18. Some are part of a sibling group of between two and six children. Children are placed in foster care because they are unable to safely live with their family of origin. They will often have specific histories of abuse, neglect or parents struggling with addiction. These experiences will often result in a multitude of challenges that require unique parenting approaches. Our staff have embraced a parenting approach known as Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)® for working with children from hard places. This evidence-based and trauma-informed model will equip you with the skills you need to parent successfully without compromising emotional connection. We will also apply TBRI as we support both the children placed in your home, and you as you parent.
In Washington state, we advocate for children in state foster care who are waiting for a family through adoption. Learn more about the children who are waiting!
Most children adopted through Washington's foster care system have experienced early childhood trauma in one form or another and may have resulting behavioral, emotional or physical special needs. Some have also been prenatally exposed to drugs and/or alcohol. We will help you prepare to meet the needs of these children, and identify if there are any needs that you are unable to meet.
The amount of time varies significantly, depending on your openness to a broad profile of child(ren) as well as your willingness to foster even if your ultimate goal is to adopt. Generally, families open to a broader range of ages, ethnicities and backgrounds will experience a shorter wait. Families who are open to providing temporary foster care will also experience shorter wait times.
The cost to adopt from foster care is $2,250 (plus travel costs and any legal expenses you may incur) with an additional $500 for each added year in the program until placement. When a child is placed in your home, you will receive a monthly stipend from the state until the child placed with you achieves permanency. This stipend starts at $500 per month and increases based on the child’s age and any other needs. The adoption tax credit is also available to help offset the cost of adoption.
Children in foster care will know much of their own history and will have relationships with their birth parents and/or extended family. Until parental rights are terminated, children will most often have court-ordered visitation with their birth family. It is vital for foster and adoptive parents to be able to recognize and express value for a child’s biological family, as they are a part of each child’s life, reflect their cultural history and form a significant foundation for their identity. It is also important for foster and adoptive parents to maintain a connection with a child’s family of origin, which can take many unique forms. This topic can provoke fear or anxiety at times, but we are here to help you navigate this dynamic and identify a path forward that is both comfortable for you and is in the best interest of the children in your care.
Holt requires applicants to be at least 25 years old to adopt from Washington's foster care system. We invite and welcome applications from single or married men and women of all ethnicities, religious backgrounds, sexual orientations or gender identities. See the full list of parental eligibility requirements here, including eligibility concerning personal background. We find that the most successful foster and adoptive parents are comfortable with uncertainties and risk, are lifelong learners, committed (yet flexible) and are willing to ask for help when they need it.
Families may be required to travel in order to transition a child to your home. Unless you are matched with a child who lives in another state, travel will most likely be within the state of Washington. If matched with a child out of state, you may need to travel to where the child lives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Date: Thursday, October 17th
Time: 7PM (IN-PERSON)
Location: Pacific NW Branch Office in Renton, WA
Date: Tuesday, November 19th
Time: 7PM (WEBINAR)