Regional Resources

Region 2

Welcome! You’re in Region 2, which includes Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Kittitas, Klickitat, Walla Walla, and Yakima counties. 

Mentors help you by providing emotional support, sharing their experiences, and connecting you to regional and state resources.  They are experienced caregivers who are familiar with the supports and services available in your region. Mentors are generalists who can help all types of caregivers statewide find the resources and support they need for successful placements. Mentors do not  offer legal, medical, or mental health advice.

Sylvia Cardenas

CaRES Mentor Region 2 & Spanish Speaking Community Specialist
sylviac1@uw.edu
Sylvia holds a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. A lifelong resident of Eastern Washington, she embraces the diverse range of outdoor activities the region offers. In 2017, Sylvia and her husband assumed the role of kinship caregivers, sparking a deep commitment to make a positive impact. Motivated by this experience, they both chose to become licensed foster parents. Recognizing a specific need within limited English-speaking communities, she has taken on role as a mentor, specializing in assisting monolingual Spanish-speaking individuals.

Tyann Whitworth

tyannw@uw.edu
CaRES Mentor Region 2

Tyann and her family began their fostering journey in 2008 while living in Utah. There they specialized in fostering older youth specifically struggling with addiction and/or behavioral support needs. They relocated to Yakima in 2013 and within a year were licensed as foster parents in Washington State and switched their focus from teens to elementary aged kiddos- specifically wanting to open their home to sibling groups in order to provide kiddos with as much connection to their own family as possible. In total the Whitworths have fostered over 60 children and in 2018 they were blessed to have the opportunity to adopt their youngest daughter. The Whitworth’s have 4 children in total and one amazing daughter-in-law!
In 2014 Tyann began working as a foster parent mentor and led the mentoring program in Region 2 from 2015-2020. Tyann also has experience working with a local private agency supporting youth with Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS) and briefly worked for DCYF as a social worker. Caregiver support has become part of her DNA and she loves to help families navigate through their fostering/kinship caregiver journey.

We know relatives and foster parents feel more successful in their journey when they are connected to others who “get it.”  That is why Alliance CaRES is in the community to help you get connected with local foster and kinship families to share common challenges, feel heard, and solve problems.

CaRES Connectors are foster and kinship caregivers themselves; they organize in-person events and community groups to bring families together for support, resource sharing, and connection. You might even build a new respite opportunity! Meet your region’s Connectors below.

Ashley

CaRES Connector
Yakima County

Heidi

CaRES Connector
Kittitas County

July

(7/23) Walla Walla Sweets Baseball Game

Join CaRES and your friends at the Walla Walla Child Advocates program for a fun night at the ballpark on Wednesday, July 23rd. The first pitch is at 6:35 p.m. This annual event welcomes all foster and kinship families to watch the Walla Walla Sweets baseball team as they take on the Yakima Valley Pippins. Families will receive vouchers for redemption at the concessions stand and the team shop. The bases will be dyed blue in support of child welfare and all children in the ballpark will get to run the bases after the game. Make this a night you won’t forget and join us! 

We are always looking for great partners! If you or a caregiver you know live in Eastern Washington and are interested in creating a support group or hosting events for caregivers, please email Aimee at aimee80@uw.edu. We are especially interested in creating support in The Columbia Basin & Spokane areas. Reach out! 

Yakima Valley Community Group 

Your Yakima Valley Community Group is on summer break! Catch us when we resume meeting on Sunday, September 15th 

We are always looking for great partners! If you or a caregiver you know live in Eastern Washington and are interested in creating a support group or hosting events for caregivers, please email Aimee at aimee80@uw.edu. We are especially interested in creating support in The Columbia Basin & Spokane areas. Reach out! 

August

(8/3) Chalk It Up!

We invite you to join CaRES Mentors and Connectors in your community on Saturday, August 3rd from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 o.m. as we decorate the sidewalks with chalk in support of families. Bring the whole family and join our CaRES team as we all chalk the sidewalks in support of foster, adoptive, kinship families and children throughout Washington. At the exact time that you’re filling your community with color, other foster, adoptive and kinship families in cities across the state will be doing the same thing. Each child will get their own “chalk it up” gift pack with chalk, stencils, bubbles, popsicles, and everything needed for making your park bright and beautiful. After the event, a gallery of everyone’s chalk masterpieces will be posted on the CaRES social media pages. This is a great opportunity to remind others, and yourself, you are not alone! 

RSVP is appreciated by July 26 to ensure we have a gift bag for each child but it is not required. Please let us know which location you’ll be joining us at in your RSVP and if there is a need for accommodation to make chalk art. RSVP by emailing Aimee at aimee80@uw.edu. The locations for your regions are listed below:

Ellensburg 

CaRES Community Connector, Heidi, is hosting a fun-filled morning at North Alder Street Park, Ellensburg, WA 98926 on Saturday, August 3rd from 10-noon.

Yakima  

CaRES Community Connector, Ashley, is hosting a fun-filled morning at Moxee City Park in Moxee on Saturday, August 3rd from 10-noon.

Caregiver Continuing Education (CCE)

Visit the Caregiver Continuing Education (CCE) webpage to learn more about the ongoing training requirements to maintain your home’s foster license and find training recommendations. 

Topic Support Groups

Topic-based conversations bring caregivers with similar needs together to find solutions while earning training credit. Caregivers’ knowledge is the foundation for shared problem-solving and self-advocacy skills.
Check the calendar below for current listings or, for a complete list of our Topic Support Groups, click here.

Join us for a CaRES Book Club!

Big Baffling Behaviors Book Club, Introduction: This 2-week book club is an introduction to the concepts detailed in Robyn Gobbel’s book, “Raising Kids with Big Baffling Behaviors.” The weekly discussions are focused on section one of the book. Throughout the guided conversations, you will have the chance to consider how the neuroscience of behavior can help you better understand your child’s actions and needs. This book club is an encouraging and welcoming space for foster parents and kinship caregivers to engage in foundational learning about trauma, behavior, connection, and regulation. Participants may participate in this group as a mini-book club or as the pre-requisite for the Topic Support Group: Big Baffling Behaviors Book Club, Continued. Register here!

And

Big Baffling Behaviors Book Club, Continuing: This 4-week book club is an extension of the Topic Support Group: Big Baffling Behaviors Book Club, Introduction. The weekly discussions will cover sections 2 and 3 of Robyn Gobbel’s book, “Raising Kids with Big Baffling Behaviors.” Throughout the guided discussions, you will have the chance to consider how the concepts of the Owl, Watchdog, and Possum brains impact your child’s behaviors, develop parenting strategies tailored to your home, and build your own self-regulation toolkit. This book club is an encouraging and welcoming space for foster parents and kinship caregivers to engage in the next step in peer-to-peer support, problem-solving, and learning facilitated by a TBRI practitioner or CaRES Mentor. Register here!

Most of these are available to foster and kinship families, some require proof of caregiver status, usually in the form of a foster care license. This is noted whenever we are aware of it. The Alliance CaRES program does not support or endorse any of the listed items; they are compiled for your convenience. We make every effort to keep these up-to-date, if you know of a correction or an item not listed, please let us know by emailing notifycares@uw.edu

Click here for resources available statewide, guides for licensure, and more.  

Check out these places in your area that offer discounts or free opportunities or items to families in the care system:

Compassion Closet: Compassion Closet is a resource for Kittitas County foster and kinship families located in Ellensburg. They stock children’s clothing newborn to size 14/16. If you need clothing for older children, they often have gift cards to local stores where families can purchase new clothing for teens and young adults. They also have cribs, toddler beds, car seats, highchairs, diapers, formula, school supplies and other essentials. Compassion closet is housed in Foursquare Church and is open for drop-in shopping Tuesdays from 12:30-2. If you need immediate assistance, they can make a special appointment for you to access the closet. 

Embrace Washington: Embrace Washington offers several programs for children experiencing foster care. Through their education program, Embrace Washington can provide financial and practical support to help children access tutoring. Their other programs can provide beds and bedding and will also sponsor a child’s special wishes. Available to all children residing in Eastern Washington (DCYF Regions 1 and 2). Caregiving families can self-refer but will need to indicate their child’s DCYF worker’s name for verification of their status as a foster child. 

Mo’s Place: Mo’s Place provides support to foster youth and their caregivers in the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and surrounding areas. Their services are available to all licensed foster homes and kinship providers who are caring for children placed in out-of-home care. Mo’s place supplies tangible household goods such as beds and bedding. They also can offer diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, hygiene items and clothing and shoes for children aged newborn to young adult. Mo’s place primarily helps children newly entering the foster care system but is dedicated to helping all caregivers so reach out to them if you have a specific ask.

Splash & Swim School: Splash & Swim school offers a 20% discount code for licensed foster parents. Caregivers should provide their foster parent license or card to receive the discount. 

Threads of Haven: Threads of Haven offers new and gently used clothing for children in foster and kinship care throughout the Yakima Valley. Their physical clothing closet is located in Yakima. Threads of Haven regularly stocks clothing from preemie to adult extra-large. They also have concrete goods like baby sleep sacks, swaddles, bouncers, bottles and pacifiers. They are open for drop-in from 1pm-3pm on Thursdays or by appointment. If you have an emergency or unplanned placement, the closet will work to accommodate you in less than 24 hours! Threads of Haven is headed by a local foster parent who is also an Alliance CaRES Community Connector.  

Voices for Children: Voices for Children offers concrete support to children in out-of-home placement with open DCYF cases. The Voices for Children IDentity closet is a free, retail shopping experience for children 0-18 where they can select new and gently used clothing of their liking. Shopping is by appointment only and requires a referral from a child’s social worker or Child Advocate. The store is located at 24th and Nob Hill in Yakima. Voices for Children also provides funding for children’s “wishes.” This can provide a child with sports equipment, camp fees, driver’s education, musical instruments and funds for special activities. They will also help a child get the technology and access to special supplies needed to thrive in school, all with the goal of helping children out-of-home care thrive.

Mentors and Specialists can help you by providing emotional support, sharing their experiences, and connecting you to regional and state resources. Specialists can help caregivers by providing emotional support, sharing their experiences, and connecting them to resources.  They have an area of dedicated knowledge that may be especially important for a caregiver looking for understanding.  Mentors and Specialists do not  offer legal, medical, or mental health advice.

Camille Hereth

CaRES Trauma-Informed Caregiving Specialist

Camille has worked in foster care for over 16 years in many different capacities, including being a foster parent, a foster home licensor, providing in home counseling to foster kids, and teaching evidence based parenting classes to foster parents and post adoptive parents. Camille is passionate about supporting families with newborns, helping people understand how trauma impacts function, and supporting families who have children that are neurodivergent.

Christa Murray

Permanency Specialist
christa6@uw.edu

The time spent in kinship care as a youth, started Christa’s awareness for the needs of families within the foster care system and opened her heart to becoming a foster parent. Christa has received support and encouragement from many during her foster/adoptive mom journey. She is honored to be able to help others as they navigate the system. Christa has written several articles on supporting foster children in child care. Her family spends much of their time exploring the outdoors or cozily tucked inside reading.

Christina Urtasun

CaRES Statewide Mentor
Curtasun@uw.edu

Christina has been a licensed foster parent, in Oak Harbor, for twenty years. She has been involved in many aspects of the foster care community including providing liaison services with Fostering Together program for 13 years and being a co-trainer with the Alliance for Child Welfare. Christina is excited to join the Alliance CaRES program as a mentor so she can continue supporting and encouraging families as well as help them navigate the system. Christina has four sons and one daughter. In her spare time, Christina loves to be hiking, camping, reading, and spending time with her family.

Deshanna Brown

CaRES Mentor Region 3, 4, & Culturally Conscious Caregiving Specialist
dbrown27@uw.edu

Deshanna has been working in the Foster Care field in various roles for six-plus years. She has been a visit supervisor, a case manager, and is a current volunteer Child Appointed Advocate in Pierce county. Most recently, she worked at Amara as a Foster Care Specialist. Along with these roles within the system, she is also a kinship caregiver. Deshanna’s passion for working with children and families in foster care comes from her drive to help every child find permanency. She loves helping families find the resources they need to help a child in their home thrive and helping foster parents and kinship caregivers navigate the world of foster care.

Nathan LaChine
CaRES Mentor Region 5, 6, & LGBTQIA+ Community Specialist
nlachine@uw.edu

Nathan has been a therapeutic foster parent with Community Youth Services serving BRS Youth for the past 16 years. He has held a variety of roles within the foster care community and has been a strong advocate within the LGBTQ2IA+ community. Through his teaching and public speaking, Nathan hopes to elevate and provide a voice for system involved families.

Sylvia Cardenas

CaRES Mentor Region 2 & Spanish Speaking Community Specialist
sylviac1@uw.edu
Sylvia holds a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. A lifelong resident of Eastern Washington, she embraces the diverse range of outdoor activities the region offers. In 2017, Sylvia and her husband assumed the role of kinship caregivers, sparking a deep commitment to make a positive impact. Motivated by this experience, they both chose to become licensed foster parents. Recognizing a specific need within limited English-speaking communities, she has taken on role as a mentor, specializing in assisting monolingual Spanish-speaking individuals.

Would you like to have one of our wonderful mentors reach out to you for individualized support? Send us an email or leave a voice mail with your contact information, a sentence or two about what general areas you need support in, and if you need language support or interpretation.  

If you are sending a referral on behalf of a caregiver, please also let us know if they are expecting a call from us. Mentors will respond within 48 hours.

alliancecares@uw.edu or call 206-221-4913

If you are a caregiver going through an investigation, be sure to visit our page on support for allegations and investigations.

If you are a caregiver experiencing challenges in your fostering journey, visit our page on caregiver challenges for training suggestions. 

Never Miss an Event with CaRES: To add the Region 2 Calendar to your personal Google Calendar, click on the plus sign in the bottom right corner of the calendar. This will open your personal Google Calendar webpage and give you the option to add the CaRES event calendars for this region and the state.

The Alliance CaRES offices are closed Monday, September 4th, in observance of Labor Day. Thank you caregivers, social workers, and staff for all you do to care for families, youth, and children!