Q: What cases are appropriate for referral?

FCAP is most helpful when there are complicated questions about permanency planning and/or about the child's functioning, diagnosis, or treatment needs.  These questions can cause professional disagreement, uncertainty about the best treatment or intervention, or concern about a caregiver's ability to meet a child's needs.  If you are unclear as to whether your case is appropriate for and FCAP assessment, you can speak with us by phone or email.   Contact Us

Q: I am not sure if my case needs a Standard or Comprehensive Assessment. How do I decide?

We will discuss the options with you when we are ready to assign your case.  Keep in mind that our contract limits the number of assessments we can provide and so we try to reserve comprehensive assessments for the most complex case situations.

Q: How long does it typically take for a case to be assigned for assessment?

The answer depends upon the current number of referrals, so check with us by phone or email for an accurate answer.  However, once the evaluator begins the assessment process it will take 28 days for standards to be completed and 56 days for comprehensives.  Many social workers choose to have a consultation to address time sensitive questions while they are waiting for assignment.

Q: I am not a DCYF Social Worker, but I am actively involved in a case that was referred to FCAP. When will I have the opportunity to speak with one of your evaluators?

The answer depends on the situation.  For most situations, you will have the opportunity to be included in a discussion about the case with the FCAP evaluator.  We may also include you in a consultation or feedback/Key Person Staffing meeting.  We do have a 30 minute "Team Review" which is designed to assist the evaluator with completing their assessment, and does not include collaterals.  For other situations, please discuss your interest with the DCYF social worker.

Q: Do children have to be placed in foster care in order to be referred to FCAP?

No.  Despite the program's name, children in relative care, in-home dependencies, group care, and "responsible adult placements" can be referred to FCAP.

Q: Who completes the FCAP assessment?

All of our assessments are conducted by Master's-level social workers at the Harborview Abuse and Trauma Center (formerly HCSATS).  We refer to these staff as "evaluators."  All of our evaluators have worked in child welfare for more than ten years.  Several of our staff have worked as FCAP evaluators for more than ten years.  Our program takes a team approach to formulating our analysis and recommendations.

Q: Can children or youth who are not dependent be referred to FCAP?

Any DCYF social worker can request an FCAP consult about a child or family they are working with.  Children and youth are generally not eligible for an FCAP assessment if they are not dependent.  For example, a child in care under a Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) or Child in Need of Supervision (CHINS) petition would be automatically eligible.  However, there are cases in which exceptions are made, particularly if the child is likely to be dependent in the near future or if there are other special circumstances that indicate FCAP expertise would be uniquely helpful.  Talk with your DCYF regional lead (LINK) about whether or not a referral to FCAP would be appropriate.

Q: I am a parent working towards reunification and my child was referred to FCAP. What can I expect?

First of all, know that we are objective in our approach when we assess for reunification and that you will be treated with respect.  Once the case is assigned, you will receive a letter from our program informing you that one of our evaluators will be reaching out to you.  We will interview you to learn about your progress and plans for reunification, and also to learn about your child(ren).  Depending on the case, we may request to observe a visitation.  Information from the interview (and observation) will be included in a written assessment.  Once the assessment is completed, you will have the opportunity to discuss the recommendations with your DCYF social worker and/or FCAP evaluator.  Following the completed assessment, we may include you in a team meeting to discuss recommendations and next steps.

Q: Who can refer cases?

Only DCYF social workers can refer cases to FCAP.  However, other important key players in the case (such as attorneys, CASAs, foster parents, and teachers), DCYF personnel (such as those from Fostering Wellbeing) and Apple Health Core Connections staff, can encourage social workers to refer.

Q: What happens after the Services and Premanency Assessment Report (SPAR) is completed?

The FCAP evaluator is available to provide a Key Person Staffing where the evaluator discusses their recommendations with the team.  We are also available to participate in other team meetings such as FTDMs and SPMs.  We often provide additional consultations after the SPAR is completed.

Q: Why is the program called "Foster Care Assessment Program" if you assess reunification and children/youth who are placed with relatives?

FCAP was created by the legislature over twenty years ago and the name of the program originated with them.  Our field has evolved considerably since that time, and our name is outdated.  We frequently consider changing the name because it is not consistent with our values related to returning children/youth to their parents and families whenever safe to do so.  However, for now we are keeping it as "FCAP" because of our history and the fact that we've established a positive reputation with our name.

Q: Do social workers need to arrange payment or seek special permission for an FCAP assessment?

No.  The role of the social workers is to complete the initial FCAP referral and provide information to the evaluator during the assessment process.  FCAP is a contracted program funded by DCYF, and the FCAP program will obtain approval form the DCYF liaison.  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?

Once a referral is completed, the social worker should email the referral to our inbox at fcap@uw.edu.  You will receive a response within 48 business hours.

Q: Is there an age limit on who can be referred for an FCAP assessment?

No.  A child/youth of any age can be referred given that other criteria are met.

Q: Can social workers refer a child/youth for an FCAp assessment more than once?

Yes.  Children/youth can be re-referred if their situation has changed significantly and the recommendations form the initial SPAR are not longer relevant.  It often makes more sense to refer for a consultation, and then the FCAP evaluator can help determine whether an additional assessment is needed or whether a consultation can adequately answer the current questions.

Q: What is a consultation?

FCAP consultations are a 45 minute phone conversation with the DCYF social worker to address a specific question.  Others who are closely involved in the case, such as caregivers or CASAs, are sometimes included in the discussion.  Questions considered during a consult might include whether adjustments to visitation will be helpful or what specific service will address a given problem for a child or caregiver.  Consultations can be scheduled very quickly, and FCAp produces a written summary of recommendations within 48 hours.

Q: What is a standard assessment?

FCAP assessments target the most complex cases that require an intensive level of assessment.  They us a systematic approach to evaluate families, including the use of standardized measures and consistent oversight for quality assurance.  Standard assessments include review of several case documents and interviews with the DCYF social worker, parent(s), caregiver(s), youth, CASA/GAL, and potentially other collaterals.  A limited number of DCYF records are reviewed and a written report is completed within 28 days.  Standard assessments are appropriate for all but the most complex cases.

Q: What is a comprehensive assessment?

FCAP assessments target the most complex cases that require an intensive level of assessment.  They use a systematic approach to evaluate families, including the use of standardized measures and consistent oversight for quality assurance.  Comprehensive assessments include a full record review and interviews with additional collaterals.  Comprehensive assessments are appropriate for cases with competing permanency options and a child/youth with complex emotional/behavioral/medical/educational needs.  Comprehensive assessments are completed within 56 days.