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Child Welfare Advocacy Coalition

CWAC Membership and Operating Framework


Work with the Executive Branch and the Legislature to decrease the number of children who enter the child welfare system; ensure that children receive appropriate and quality care while in the child welfare system; safely return children home or place them with a permanent family more quickly; and successfully transition youth exiting the child welfare system.


Maximize consumer voice in every CWAC decision and champion the inclusion of consumer voice in systems change and legislative advocacy.

View every CWAC decision through the lens of addressing racial disproportionality, gender equality and the best interest of children and families.

Interested in becoming a member?

We welcome organizations and individuals dedicated to positive child welfare system reform to join our Coalition. Members consist of individual community members or organizations and can be full voting participants, to have input on our annual advocacy agenda, or informational members to stay up to date on important issues facing children, youth and families.

If you are interested in becoming an informational or voting member representing yourself or an organization, please contact Erin Shea McCann at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


2016 CWAC Priorities

Click here to download a printable copy 

Keep children and families out of the child welfare system

  • Support Kinship Caregivers: Eliminate means testing for child-only TANF and expand Kinship Navigators.
Improve the child welfare system for children and families in out of home care
  • Forecast Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS): Currently, funding for BRS is not included in the foster care forecast. This leads to significant issues as the number of children/youth in care grows, and their needs become more intensive. By including BRS in the foster care forecast , funding will be able to be adjusted to meet changing needs.
  • Evaluate the Mockingbird Family Model (MFM): The MFM is an innovative model for foster care delivery. An evaluation of this model will show the impact and associated cost savings, with the hope that the State of Washington and others will adopt the model more broadly, thus improving outcomes for our foster children, youth, and families.
  • Increase the Child Placing Agency (CPA) Rate: CPAs play a critical role in ensuring there is an adequate number of foster families throughout our state. Restoring rates for CPAs will enable agencies to help provide safe foster homes for every child in need of out-of-home care.
Ensure that children in the child welfare system achieve permanency as quickly as possible
  • Allow Families to Retain Child Care Subsidies: Children who were in child care through the child welfare system should qualify for the 12-month subsidy authorization policy established in 2015 through the Early Start Act. This proposal would transition children from child welfare-funded childcare to Working Connections Child Care at the point the child welfare case is closed.
  • Improve the Dependency Court Process (HB 1734): Pilot and evaluate whether having a team approach, early resolution/mediation, and expanded judicial trainings improve effective/safe reunifications or other permanency options for children, youth, and families.
Successfully transition youth out of foster care and into adulthood
  • Improve Education Outcomes for Foster Children and Youth (HB 1999): Foster youth continue to lag behind their peers in school. Coordinated services focusing on improving rates of high school graduation, post-secondary enrollment and completion are needed to support foster youth educational achievement.

Legacy Issues
  • Protecting Services from Cuts: Preserve existing, proven programs and services.
  • Full Implementation of the Family Assessment Response (FAR) program: Provide funding to allow the remaining 13 child welfare offices to implement the Family Assessment Response. This would enable families across the state to benefit from the FAR child protective services pathway.
  • Performance Based Contracting: Continue to support successful implementation of PBC through the Network Administrator model in the Spokane area and additional areas of the state.
  • Braam: Support funding identified by Children's Administration to implement the Braam settlement agreement.
  • HOPE Centers and Street Youth Services: Increase funding to expand the number of HOPE Beds statewide and ensure there are sufficient outreach efforts to inform youth about these resources.
    • HOPE Beds provide emergency shelter and immediate safety to adolescents seeking relief from the trauma and despair that results from surviving on the streets.
    • Street Youth Services can help connect youth to family-focused services, drug and alcohol abuse intervention, counseling, emergency housing, prevention and education activities, employment skill building, advocacy, and follow-up support, in addition to HOPE Beds.
Supporting Agenda:
  • Poverty Reduction (HB 2518): Support strategies that could effectively reduce poverty and improve child and family outcomes.
  • Parent/Child Visitation: Support strategies to ensure quality visitation between parents and children in the child welfare system, including the use of parent coaching, and minimizing the use of visit supervisors.
  • Healthcare for Homeless Minors (HB 2396): Allow school personnel to provide consent for unaccompanied minors to receive basic, preventive, and routine healthcare.
  • Homeless Student Stability and Opportunity Gap Act (HB 1682/SB 6298): Improve educational outcomes for homeless students through increased in-school supports and a grant program that links homeless students and their families with stable housing located within the homeless student's school district.
  • Host Home Licensing Exemption (HB 2440/SB 6249): Allow Host Home programs to continue providing services to youth under 18 by exempting these programs from child placing agency requirements.
  • Mental Health Services (HB 2439): Improve access to quality, appropriate mental health services for children, youth, and their families.
  • Full Payment Rate for Travel Time for In-Home Services: Provide funding to pay private agencies the full hourly vendor rate when traveling to family homes. The current rate is only 50% of the full rate, resulting in financial losses that make private agencies unable to continue offering these services.
  • Increase the Focus on Children and Family Services:  Support the creation of a high level 'Task Force' to identify what would be included in a separate department of children and family services if one were established and what outcomes such a department would be expected to achieve.

**Items are not listed in order of importance**