Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if a case is appropriate for referral?
A: FCAP is most useful for children whose permanency planning requires additional information about the child's functioning, diagnosis, treatment needs, prognosis, or caregiving requirements. If you are unclear as to whether your case is an appropriate referral, you can speak with your local FCAP coordinator or evaluator or contact Rima Ellard, Program Coordinator, at 206-744-1685.

Q: What kinds of cases are generally not appropriate for FCAP?
A: Referral to FCAP is not appropriate when a social worker is seeking to locate a specific placement, is hoping to determine the safety of a home for placement/reunification, or is requesting FCAP to investigate concerns about a foster parent's quality of care. Although the program can evaluate the quality of the match between the child's needs and the current home, any concerns about a foster parent's care need to be addressed by DSHS directly to the foster parents.

Q: How long does it typically take for a case to be assigned for assessment?
A: Check with your local evaluator for an accurate answer, as it depends on the referral backlog. However, once the evaluator begins the assessment process, it will take an average of two months for the final report. Assignment to an evaluator can take place immediately, or within a few months.

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 “responsible adult placements” can be referred to FCAP. The assessment process is especially useful in cases where a child has cycled in and out of care and is currently placed at home. The assessment can be used to help stabilize the placement and prevent another re-entry into care.

Q: Can children under a Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) be referred to FCAP?
A: Generally, a child under a VPA can be referred to FCAP if the social worker believes a dependency is likely to be filed, the child has been in placement more than 90 days, and the child has multiple issues which need further assessment. Under special circumstances, there can be exceptions to these rules. Talk with your DCFS regional coordinator to determine whether the case should be referred to FCAP.

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 coordinator to determine whether the case should be referred to FCAP.

Q: Who can refer cases?
A: Only DCFS social workers can refer cases to FCAP. However, community members(such as therapists, CASAs, foster parents, and teachers) and DCFS personnel (such as Foster Care Passport Nurses and Kidscreen Specialists) 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 foster parents, social worker, relatives, teacher, therapist, CASA, and child).

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.

Q: What do social workers do once they have completed the FCAP referral?
A: Once a referral is completed, the social worker should give the referral packet to their local FCAP coordinator (see list under “DCFS Social Workers” on this website). The DCFS FCAP coordinator will send the referral packet to the local FCAP evaluator.

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

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 are no longer relevant.