What’s Next

Last updated: July 1, 2020, at 5:15 a.m. PT

Originally published: September 30, 2018, at 7:40 p.m. PT

I’m ready! What do I do next? 

There are over 8,800 youth in foster care in Washington State, and only 5,000 foster homes. Together we can fill that need to ensure every child has the safe and stable home environment they deserve.  Getting licensed to become foster parent is a big decision here are a few tips to getting started: 

  1. Do your research. The very first decision you will need to make is whether you want to get licensed through the State or through a private agency. Make sure you understand the difference. If you chose to get licensed through a private agency, compare all the different programs in a large geographic area.  

    • “I live in Gig Harbor and I chose to get licensed with the YMCA in Seattle, because none of the private agencies in my area shared my values. We are members at our local YMCA anyway and our case manager visits our home every month. So, the distance hasn’t been an issue.”   - YMCA Foster Parent 


  1. Complete an Orientation online or in person. Ask lots of questions:  

    • How long has the program been operating?  

    • What types of homes does it have?  

    • What are the organization’s values?  

    • Is there a foster parent you could talk to?  

    • Does the agency provide 24/7 support?  

    • How much respite do families take on average?  

    • Do foster parents have a voice in the program?  

    • How long will it take to get licensed?  

    • Does the agency charge any fees?  

    • What services does the agency provide?  

    • What does the placement process look like?  

    • How much information does the agency provide about the children they place? 


  1. Visit a foster parent support group in your area. Meet new and experienced foster parents licensed through various organizations. Hear their stories and ask lots of questions about their experiences.  


  1. Before you commit, ask to talk to a foster parent licensed through the organization. 

    •  “Early on I had so much respect for foster parents who were helping children who had been so harmed and experienced such trauma in their lives. I would think maybe I want to do that at some point.” - Jill & Kelly, YMCA Foster Parents 

Category: Social Services