Strengthening ties with caregiver community
The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) is in the midst of launching a new caregiver recruitment and retention program that will provide a hybrid approach to the work. This includes hiring internal staff as Targeted Recruitment Specialists while contracting out caregiver Retention and Support Services.
DCYF is required to follow a competitive solicitation process in the procurement of goods and services. This process started for the caregiver recruitment and retention program on April 23, 2020, when the Request for Proposals was initiated. After careful consideration, the process concluded on June 16, 2020, and the apparent successful bidder for the Retention and Support Services contract is Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence.
The goal is for this contract to be initiated on July 1, 2020. However, there is currently a personal/professional service contract freeze. This contract is subject to approval by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) and will require DCYF to go through the OFM exemption request process. DCYF has submitted the exemption request and it is currently under review.
DCYF acknowledged that this decision has many impacts on the caregiver community, external stakeholders, tribal partners and DCYF staff. They recognize the tremendous work that the current contracted providers have done with the Fostering Together and Fostering Washington programs.
DCYF is currently working on a transition plan. Unfortunately, due to the current approval process and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a gap in available caregiver recruitment and retention services. DCYF is working diligently on addressing these gaps and will provide specific details and communication as to what caregivers, stakeholders, partners and staff can expect on June 30, 2020, when the current recruitment and retention services contracts expire.