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New Directions. Brighter Futures.

Program Contact

Nikki Brown
Program Director
(360) 918-7817

Marisha McDowell
Recruitment and Retention Specialist

Foster Care Services


Foster Change with Foster Care

Interested in Foster Parenting?
Click HERE for information on becoming a CYS Foster Parent.

*Read below for more information on licensing and our program.

Community Youth Services provides Therapeutic Foster Care Services for youth who are 6 – 21 years old and are referred by Washington State’s Division of Children & Family Services. The program utilizes a strength-based, multi-systemic treatment team approach to provide intensive home-, community- and school-based services designed to ensure placement stability, improve school functioning, decrease behavioral challenges, increase pro-social skills, and improve mental health. The program also recruits, trains, and licenses its own foster parents.

Services to Youth and Families:

  • Case management services
  • Behavior management support
  • One-on-one training opportunities for foster parents
  • Case aide services
  • Respite care
  • 24/7 crisis support
  • Transportation services
  • Pro-Social activities for youth (including hiking, snowboarding, kayaking, rock climbing, cooking, art activities, local classes, school sports, seasonal camps, etc.)
  • …and more

Every youth in our foster care program is assigned a Case Manager who helps coordinate their care, ensuring consistent planning and support across all members of a youth’s team.

CYS Case Managers:

  • Maintain small case loads of only approx. 5-7 youth at a time
  • Provide frequent check-ins with youth and their foster families
  • Identify critical individuals in a youth’s life to form the youth’s Treatment Team.  (These can include a youth’s foster parents, social worker, therapist, lawyer, school advocate or representative, natural supports, biological family, etc.)
  • Hold regular team meetings to establish/review plans and goals for youth success
  • Coordinate access to community- and school-based services (Individual Education Plans, mental health, etc.)
  • Support families in navigating youth insurance issues, setting medical/dental/mental health appointments, and providing transportation to appointments when needed
  • Assist youth in finding their individual path to success

Licensing with Community Youth Services

Community Youth Services licenses therapeutic foster parents to care for youth with higher than average behavioral needs. These youth share a need for security and structure that can be provided by caring, understanding adults.

CYS licenses foster parents through the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.  When becoming licensed with CYS, you will work closely with our licensor who will answer all of your questions and help you to navigate the licensing process. 
Minimum requirements to become a foster parent in WA State include the following:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have income above the TANF level (sufficient to meet own needs)
  • Complete a background clearance check with the FBI and WA State Patrol
  • Submit a TB test completed within the past twelve months (prior to completion of licensure)
  • Agree to use positive discipline methods and to not use any form of physical punishment
  • Willingness to provide individualized supervision appropriate to a youth’s specific behavioral needs, as determined by the youth’s treatment team
  • Complete the following trainings: Orientation (with CYS or DSHS), Pre-Service - Caregiver Core Training (CCT), Age-relevant First Aid/CPR and HIV/AIDS training (click on link for free CPR/First Aid class for WA state caregivers).

We additionally ask that you commit to:

  • Being consistent and patient with youth
  • Engaging in ongoing training opportunities at a higher than minimum standard (and with additional supports to help you meet this goal)
  • Being an active and communicative participant in your child’s team

*Call CYS at 1-888-R-FOSTER for more information on these and other licensing requirements.

A Brief View of CYS Foster Care

CYS Foster Parents are voices in our community and in our program. CYS provides unique opportunities for our foster parents to share their stories and offer their perspectives. For instance, foster parent “round table” discussions are held approximately quarterly at CYS to provide our foster families with opportunities to share their feedback on the program and their experiences as foster parents, to engage in trainings, and to develop relationships with other CYS foster families.

CYS Foster Care is proud of our placement process, in which families are able to share their strengths and concerns with our Clinical Coordinator who collaborates with the family and other program staff to identify strong potential placements for the home. Efforts are made to ensure the family has an opportunity to learn about and even meet the youth (usually as a respite overnight) prior to formal placement. This results in better stability, longer placements, and higher success outcomes for our youth.

CYS Foster Youth are typically referred to our program after having difficulty succeeding in state foster care or relative homes, or after experiencing periods of success and stabilization in group home or institutional environments. 

Our youth:

  • Range from 6-18 years old (or 18-21 in the extended foster care program) with an average age of approximately 13-16 years old
  • Have typically experienced a higher number of placements while in foster care, providing them with little opportunity for stability in home or school environments
  • Have been traumatized by neglect, physical or sexual abuse, and domestic violence, or may have a history of extreme poverty, drug or alcohol abuse, or mental health issues
  • Often carry forward behaviors learned from abusers or developed as survival mechanisms to keep themselves mentally or physically safe in extreme situations and environments
  • Are in need of safe and stable homes that provide a consistent, patient, and compassionate atmosphere where they can gradually relax, learn healthy habits, and grow towards becoming successful adults

CYS Foster Families want to share their home and provide a supportive, nurturing family experience for a child or teenager. They are warm and understanding, have a sense of humor, and have flexibility to adapt to changing situations.

CYS is proud to license qualified, caring adults from diverse backgrounds. Our families are homeowners and renters, married and single, opposite or same gender families, and families who are culturally diverse. We accept youth and families for who they are.

Interested in Foster Parenting?

If you are interested in what you have read here and would like more information about becoming a foster parent, you can contact our CYS Retention and Recruitment Specialist, Marisha McDowell, at 1-888-R-FOSTER or by email.

We are happy to answer any of your questions and help you decide if our program is a good fit for your family.














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