Caregiver Connection - January 2024

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caregiver connection

January 2024 Issue:

Caregiver's Guide to Martin Luther King Jr. Day

blue image that reads Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated annually on the third Monday of January. The holiday was established to honor the civil rights leader's birthday, which is on Jan. 15.

The holiday is recognized as a day of service, honoring King's legacy by encouraging volunteerism for societal betterment and promoting values of equality, justice, and unity.

Notable Events

“I Have a Dream” — Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic speech delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963.

Montogomery Bus Boycott — Led by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1955-1956, was a key civil rights protest against racial segregation sparked by Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her bus seat.

Civil Rights Act of 1968 — Outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1968, a week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


  • I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer
  • Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? by Lisbeth Kaiser

DCYF Joins Instagram

Follow us and learn more about DCYF programming and services.

Visit DCYF's Foster Parenting & Kinship Care Webpage

Foster Parenting & Kinship Care | Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families

Adoption Support Information Sessions

Join Us to Learn More About:

  • Adoption Support program
  • Eligibility and application process
  • Benefits available through the program

Adoption Support Flyer: English Spanish

Adoption Support Information Sessions occur the first Wednesday of every month.

12 to 1 p.m. |  Meeting Registration - Zoom

6 to 7 p.m. | Meeting Registration - Zoom

Save the Date: We Are Family Day

Grab a ticket to join the Mariners and DCYF at T-Mobile Park on Sunday, May 12 for We Are Family Day.

Our annual celebration of caregivers features activities, giveaways, and connections with partners that support caregivers and young people experiencing foster care.

Brave Conversations

Welcoming virtual spaces for conversation about building supportive relationships between parents whose children are placed in out-of-home care and their children's caregivers. 

Tuesday, January 16, from 6 to 7:15 p.m.

Register here

Changes to Caregiver Payments, Child Care Fingerprint Requirements, Residential Facilities in 2024

teacher and kids in a classroom

The new year brings a handful of changes that will increase supports to families and protect children and youth. Here are some of the changes you will see in 2024: 

  • Suspected incidences of child abuse and neglect at behavioral health facilities, residential private schools, and host homes, can now be reported to DCYF.
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, DCYF will replace the current four-level rate assessment system with a new, seven-level caregiver supports model.
  • If you are enrolled in foster care health coverage’s Apple Health Core Connections (AHCC) through Coordinated Care of Washington (CCW), beginning Jan. 1, 2024, you may be impacted by changes in contracted pharmacies.
  • Effective Jan. 1, 2024, Proclamation 20-31.12, which suspended and waived the fingerprint requirement for background checks for child care and early learning providers, will come to an end.


Subscribe to New Email Resources

little boy blowing the soap bubbles in the park with his grandfather

DCYF launched two newsletters, each focused on providing resources and information for families across the state.

Engaging Father Newsletter

The inaugural issue of the Engaging Father Newsletter included stories about fathers who engaged in treatment and ultimately regained custody of their children, a list of resources for fathers, and activities and events for dads and children.

Adoption Support Newsletter

This newsletter (sent in both English and Spanish) is meant to connect adoptive families to the Adoption Support program and provide ongoing information and education about the services and supports available post-adoption. 

Sign up for these newsletters today! 

Kinship Advocacy Day in Olympia

family sitting on the floor smiling at camera

Advocacy Day is your chance to make your voice heard. Join Kinship Caregivers from across Washington State to advocate for continued support for Relative/Kinship Caregivers and the children in their care.

Wear blue to represent kinship care! 

Jan. 10 from 11am to 1pm
220 Legislative Building
416 Sid Snyder Ave SW
Olympia, WA 98506

Questions? Contact Trista Mason at or 360-754-7629

Apply Now for your Foster Family Park Pass

adult and three kids cooking hot dogs over campfire

Do you enjoy visiting and camping in Washington state parks for free?

Washington state residents who provide out-of-home care to minor children qualify for the Foster Family Pass. 

Starting June 1, 2024, you will need the Foster Family Pass, issued by Washington state parks, to receive the Foster Family discount. Apply now and beat the spring rush!

Applications are available at

If you have questions about the Foster Family Pass and its benefits, call (360) 902-8844 or email

Concrete Goods Assistance

kid and parents shopping for clothes

There are a range of concrete goods and services available at DCYF to help unlicensed caregivers meet the needs of children and youth, eliminate barriers to placement, and maintain overall placement stability (some concrete goods and services are also available to licensed caregivers on a limited basis).

Goods include safety items, baby supplies, school supplies, housing goods/assistance, transportation support, clothing, personal care/hygiene items, and more. Concrete goods and services at DCYF are available for one-time or short-term needs while caseworkers support families, connecting them with long-term assistance. 

For ongoing economic need, consider reaching out to your DCYF/Tribal Caseworker, Guardian ad Litem (GAL), or child’s attorney for a referral to Treehouse’s Just-In-Time Funding, Treehouse Store, or Drivers Assistance Program.

Treehouse offers eligible children and youth financial assistance for:
• Extracurricular Activities
• Educational Needs
• Career Support
• School supplies, clothing, shoes, toys and more at the Treehouse Store
• Driving Assistance
• Other items and services like bus passes, hair care, passport/birth certificate

All children/youth in Washington state care are also eligible for Safelink Wireless cell phone assistance via their enrollment in Medicaid (one phone with minutes/data per family). Any family or caseworker can make a referral on behalf of a child/youth regardless of caregiver eligibility.

Contact your caseworker if your family would like to discuss options and eligibility for concrete goods assistance or request additional help in accessing economic supports.

Educational Resource Wednesdays: Fair Access to Education

kids smiling with backpacks walking down school hallway

Join the Alliance from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, to talk about how school should be a safe, welcoming environment for every student — whether transgender, cisgender, or nonbinary.

In this training, you'll get an overview of the legal protections in place for K-12 public school students in Washington and answers to some of the common questions that schools are asking regarding how to create and maintain a gender-inclusive learning environment for all students.

Register at

Caregiver Trainings for the New Year

man looking at laptop screen

The Alliance for Professional Development, Training, and Caregiver Excellence

  • African American Hair and Skin Care — Jan. 8 from noon to 4 p.m.
    This training teaches you to understand the complexity of caring for African-American and biracial hair and skin. Participants will gain skills and knowledge to be culturally responsive to the needs of the children/youth in their care. 
  • Building Parental Resilience for Kinship Caregivers — Jan. 21 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
    This course helps you understand the importance of self-care and practical ideas for how to do it. You will understand signs of stress and burnout and recognize the importance of maintaining their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

    Learn about all the upcoming classes here:
    Sign up to get these notices sent right to your inbox or explore the training calendar.

    Coordinated Care

  • Supporting LGBTQIA+ Youth in Foster Care — Jan. 23 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. 
    Developed through Amara with input from Coordinated Care and other community organizations. For caregivers and professionals who work in the child welfare setting.
    Register in advance for this meeting:

  • Understanding Youth Substance Use — Jan. 24 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
    Explores the impact and rates of substance use among youth in foster care. Discusses risk factors and protective factors, how substance use effects the brain, different types of substances being used, and common warning signs of use or addiction. Caregivers will leave better able to start conversations with youth on substance use and addiction. 
    Register in advance for this meeting:

  • Attachment and Bonding Beyond Infancy — Jan. 26 from Noon to 1:30 p.m.
    Attachment is the foundation of all relationships, and when caring for children with a history of trauma and trust issues, it does not always occur easily. This training addresses the need for Attachment-focused care, focusing on some practical tips on how to strengthen attachment to children. This training can help caregivers and others understand the basics of how attachment issues are extremely common in children who have experienced complex trauma.
    Register in advance for this meeting:

    Please consult our website for monthly training webinars and events: