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The 2017 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to evaluate a new short-term foster care support program. The program allows licensed foster parents to access temporary and flexible short-term support services provided by organizations in their local communities, with the overall goal of supporting the parental efforts of the foster parents. The short-term support does not include overnight assistance. This new program is differentiated from existing services by being potentially available to any licensed foster parent, whereas existing case aide services have been almost exclusively available to foster parents for specific children with high-level needs.
In this interim report, we briefly describe initial program implementation in two community-based non-profit organizations and outline WSIPP’s broad evaluation approach and potential data limitations.
A final report is due to the legislature by June 30, 2020. The outcome evaluation will, to the maximum extent possible, assess the impact of the short-term support services on the retention of foster homes and the number of placements a foster child receives while in out-of-home care, as well as the return on investment to the state.