FOSTER PARENTS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR PAID LEAVE.

Welcoming a child into your care is a big change—for everyone involved. Paid Family and Medical Leave offers time to help a child or children transition into your home and helps you all adjust to the changes in your lives without losing your job or income.

If you’re a new foster parent or kinship caregiver in Washington, you can take advantage of the state’s new insurance program to take up to 12 weeks of paid time off of work. You’ll receive up to 90 percent of your weekly pay—a maximum of $1,206 a week—when you qualify.

When foster parents and kinship caregivers take paid family leave, it offers an opportunity to build a connection with the child in your home as well as with the child’s parents, to make sure that the child/ren you both care about is best supported while in foster care.

To apply, visit paidleave.wa.gov.

How to Apply

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Step 1

Contact Your Employer

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Step 2

Child is Placed in Your Home

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Step 3

File for Leave at PaidLeave.WA.gov

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Step 4

Receive Letter of Determination

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Step 5

File Weekly Claims

HOW TO USE YOUR TIME OFF

Every family and child is unique and should use this time in the way that works for them.

It’s important for children to feel connected to caring adults and feel safe and settled in their space. And, it’s important to maintain vital connections to their parents and extended family.

Here are some ideas for how to use your paid leave time to best support a child in your care:

  • Spend quality time getting to know the children in your care and helping them get to know you and what to expect in your home.
  • Find out what they would like to have or see in their room that will help them feel safe. Do they want a picture of anyone, a nightlight, a special stuffy?
  • Share a brief write up about yourself and your family.
  • Ask questions about what is important to them that you can incorporate into your home.
  • Use CTF Alliance’s resources to help build connections.
  • Transport children to and from visits with their parents so they don’t have to meet yet another stranger. You can even introduce yourself at a visit if the parents are open to meeting you.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE?

This new state insurance program allows you to take paid time off to care for yourself or for a family member, or to bond with a new child in your care including a foster child, adopted child, or newborn. The state program also provides paid leave to care for yourself or a family member with a serious medical condition.

HOW DO I QUALIFY?

You can apply for paid leave if you worked at least 820 hours during the last year, and have a “qualifying event,” such as becoming a foster parent, kinship caregiver, adopting a child, giving birth, or becoming a father. Part-time, seasonal and temporary workers, people who work for multiple employers, and people who are undocumented all qualify.

HOW MUCH WILL I RECEIVE?

When you take paid leave, you will receive up to 90 percent of your weekly pay up to a maximum of $1,206 a week depending on your wages. Parents and caregivers qualify for up to 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with a new child. New parents, including fathers, partners, kinship caregivers, foster and adoptive parents, are eligible for bonding leave.

WHEN CAN I APPLY?

You can apply after your child has been placed in your care. Your payments will include pay starting from when you were eligible. It takes about two to three weeks to get your first payment. To apply, visit paidleave.wa.gov.

WHO DECIDES IF I’M ELIGIBLE?

The state of Washington approves your application, not your employer. All your personal information is kept completely confidential and is not shared with any other government agency.

CAN I LOSE MY JOB FOR TAKING PAID LEAVE?

If your company has 50 or more employees, your job is protected if you have worked for the company for 12 months or longer and have worked 1,250 hours in the year before the first day you take paid leave.