In 2020, the Legislature created the Family Connections Program (FCP), directing the Department of Children, Youth and Families to contract with an external organization or organizations with experience serving youth or families receiving out-of-home care services to implement and operate FCP.
The purpose of FCP is to strengthen families, and prevent future child trauma by facilitating communication, where appropriate, between foster families and birth families when a child is dependent and in out-of-home care. After receiving a referral, FCP is to determine whether an in-person meeting between the two parties is appropriate. If FCP determines an in-person meeting should occur, they must provide a referral to the FCP team, which must:
Amara operates the FCP in Clark, Grays Harbor, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific, Pierce and Skamania counties. Since the inception of the program, 13 FCP meetings have been held, 66 parents have met with a peer mentor, and 90 caregivers have met with a peer mentor.
FCP is made permanent, within available funding, instead of expiring June 30, 2023. The external organization or organizations contracted to implement and operate FCP is to do so in one or more locations in both eastern and western Washington.