Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if a case is appropriate for referral?
A: FCAP is most useful for children/youth where there are current barriers to permanency. These are cases that require additional information about the child's functioning, diagnosis, treatment needs, or the parents’ capacity to parent. If you are unclear as to whether your case is an appropriate referral, you can speak with your local FCAP liaison or evaluator or contact Rima Ellard, Program Manager, at 206-744-1685 or

Q: Do children have to be placed in foster care in order to be referred to FCAP?
A: No. Despite the program’s name, children in relative care, in-home dependencies, group care, and “suitable adult placements” can be referred to FCAP. The assessment can be used to help stabilize the placement and prevent entry into foster care.

Q: I want an assessment of a large sibling group; do I complete a referral for each child?
A: The answer to this question depends upon whether each child has specific emotional, behavioral, developmental, educational, health and permanency needs of their own. Only the most complex cases should be referred. Typically FCAP can provide information regarding permanency on multiple siblings via one child’s referral. In other cases, we recommend referring one child for a Standard assessment and another sibling for a Reunification assessment. If you would like help making this decision, please contact Rima Ellard at 206-744-1685 or

Q: What is the difference between a Standard Assessment and a Reunification assessment?
A: The purpose of FCAP is to decrease barriers to permanency. Standard Assessments provide a comprehensive assessment of a child's functioning in the home, school and community and assist with service planning and implementation. Reunification Assessments provide a screening of the child’s needs and an analysis of whether the service plan meets the parental deficits that prompted removal. Furthermore in a reunification assessment, attention is paid as to whether the parental deficiencies have been corrected and if not, what is needed to do so.

Q: Is there an age limit on who can be referred for an FCAP assessment?
A: No. A child/youth of any age can be referred given that other criteria are met.

Q: What kinds of cases are generally not appropriate for FCAP?
A: The purpose of FCAP is to address outstanding questions about permanency and service needs for the parent and/or child. Therefore, FCAP is not appropriate in situations where everything is going well and FCAP would serve only to confirm the plan. Similarly, FCAP should not be used solely to provide a summary or overview of a child, for example in preparation for adoption. While FCAP provides some developmental or mental health screening during assessments, we are not a substitute for psychological or neurodevelopmental testing.

Q: Where do I send the referral once I have completed it and obtained appropriate signed consent?
A: There are FCAP evaluators assigned for each region in the state. The evaluator for your region can be found here: FCAP evaluator locations. The completed referral packet should be sent to your region’s evaluator by encrypted e-mail with referral documents, attached. Alternately, referral packets can be sent via fax or mail.

Q: Do social workers need to arrange payment for FCAP evaluations?
A: No. FCAP is a contracted program funded by Children’s Administration. Social workers do not need to provide payment or complete paperwork for special funding. Additionally, referrals can be sent directly to FCAP and do not need to go through a DCFS Gatekeeper.

Q: How long does it typically take for a case to be assigned for assessment?
A: Referrals can typically be assigned to an evaluator right away. Once the evaluator begins the assessment process, it will take an average of one month for initial recommendations and two months for the final report.

Q: I know that a child received a prior FCAP evaluation, but I can’t find the report. How can I obtain a copy?
A: If you are the current DCFS caseworker for the case, you may contact the FCAP Program Coordinator, Diane Klindt at or 206-744-1681 to obtain a copy. Otherwise, you should request the evaluation directly from DCFS.

Q: If the tribe holds jurisdiction of a case, can the tribal social service staff refer a case directly to FCAP.
A: Yes. FCAP and other contracted services are available to children and families under tribal jurisdiction. Tribal social service staff can refer directly to their local FCAP evaluator Fcap evaluator locations .

Q: Who can refer cases?
A: Only DCFS social workers and tribal personnel can refer cases to FCAP. However, community members (such as therapists, CASAs, foster parents, and teachers) and DCFS personnel (such as CHET Screening Specialists, Program Managers, and FTDM Facilitators) can encourage social workers to refer.

Q: What happens after the Services and Preliminary Assessment Report (SPAR) is completed?
A: The FCAP evaluator is available to provide six months of follow-up services. This generally includes a Key Person Staffing where the evaluator discusses their recommendations with the team (which can include the biological parents, foster parents, social worker, relatives, teacher, therapist, CASA, and youth).

Q: What happens during the six months of follow-up services?
A: The purpose of the six months of follow-up service is for FCAP to continue lending expertise to overcome barriers to permanency and appropriate services. Activities vary widely based upon the needs of the child and family, but can include helping to refer children and youth to needed services; advocating for the child; helping to fine-tune the services a child or youth is receiving; explaining to parents or caregivers the benefits of specific services or plans; encouraging collaboration between key players in the child’s life; and mediating differences of opinion about the best way forward.

Q: Can youth involved with DCFS through CHINs be referred to FCAP?
A: Generally, CHINs cases are not appropriate for referral to FCAP. However, under special circumstances, there can be exceptions to these rules. Talk with your DCFS regional liaison DCFS Regional Liaisons PDF to determine whether the case should be referred to FCAP.

Q: Can social workers refer a child for an FCAP assessment more than once?
A: Yes. Children/youth can be re-referred if their situation has changed significantly and the recommendations from the initial SPAR have been followed and/or are no longer relevant.

Q: Where can I obtain more information?
A: For general information, contact Rima Ellard (Program Manager) at 206-744-1685 or and Diane Klindt (Program Coordinator) at 206-744-1681 or .

For your local FCAP evaluator: Click Here

For your local DCFS Liaison: Click Here