The Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) launched a new online application portal Monday for those interested in becoming foster parents or caregivers.
The ultimate goal of the Washington Caregiver Application Portal is to speed up the process of placing foster children in appropriate homes. According to the department, it will streamline the application process and aid DCYF’s efforts to increase and diversify the population of licensed and kinship caregivers, group care facilities and child-placing agencies.
The portal automates existing paper practices, streamlining the “Home Study Process” used by both DCYF and child-placing agencies. It provides a single application source to prospective and existing caregivers in both English and Spanish, according to a DCYF news release.
The portal allows applicants and existing caregivers to upload required documentation, track progress and sign documents electronically. The release stated the portal also allows department staff to complete paperwork and track background checks, training hours and case notes online.
“Instead of stacks of papers, prospective and existing caregivers can complete application and renewal forms from a computer, tablet or phone,” wrote DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter in a statement. “(The online portal) is one of the ways DCYF is modernizing how we support families across the state and safely speed up permanency for children and youth in out-of-home placements.”
DCYF’s transition to the online caregiver application portal is expected to decrease the time it takes families to qualify as caregivers, decrease placement interruptions for children in care, decrease the drop-out rate of licensed homes, increase the number of licensed family caregivers and decrease the total number of placements experienced by children in care, according to the release.
The portal was created by Binti, a child welfare software provider that has helped modernize data systems for government and private agencies across the country, according to the release.
“Our mission is to ensure every child has a safe and loving family. Binti’s software makes it easy for families and social workers to complete the foster parent licensing process online, resulting in more families getting licensed more quickly and less administrative work for caseworkers,” said Felicia Curcuru, Binti’s co-founder and CEO, in a written statement. “We’re excited to partner with DCYF to modernize their licensing process and drive measurable outcomes for children in Washington.
To learn more, go online to www.dcyf.wa.gov.
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