Regional Support

Region 4

Welcome! You’re in Region 4, which is King County. 

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.

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. 

Lisa Konick

lrkonick@uw.edu
Lead Mentor, CaRES Mentor Region 4

Lisa Konick has been a foster parent for 21 years. During that time she has adopted four foster children. A graduate of the University of Washington, Lisa has been a caregiver co-trainer since 2011, and prior to that she was an educational advocacy trainer for Treehouse. Lisa is passionate about supporting, encouraging, and resourcing foster caregivers and kinship care providers across Washington state.

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.

Aer

CaRES Connector
King County

 

July

(7/21) Seattle Community Group
This monthly group is hosted by Community Connector and foster parent Aer and is a wonderful opportunity to meet more families to share resources and build connections.  

Join them from 2:30pm-4:30pm on Sunday, July 21st.  This group is open for all kinship, relatives, and foster families regardless of placement or case status to come together in a safe and supportive environment. Children are welcome; childcare and light snacks will be provided.  

Join us when you can, the third Sunday of each month at Mt. Baker Park Presbyterian Church.  3201 Hunter Blvd. South, Seattle. Please enter the door on the building’s west side, on 37th Avenue S.  

While the church has graciously provided space for this event, the group has no religious affiliation, and all families are welcome to attend. 

You can email Aer at southseattlecares@gmail.com or text (646) 470-2273 with any questions, or to learn more. Please RSVP for childcare. 

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 Kati at brownk77@uw.edu. The locations for your regions are listed below:

Auburn 

CaRES Connector and adoptive parent Lisa will hold Chalk It Up! at Les Gove Park in Auburn. Look for her in her blue CaRES shirt with blue balloons near the playground.

(8/18) Seattle Monthly Community Group
This monthly group is hosted by Community Connector and foster parent Aer and is a wonderful opportunity to meet more families to share resources and build connections.

Join them from 2:30pm-4:30pm on Sunday, August 18th.  This group is open for all kinship, relatives, and foster families regardless of placement or case status to come together in a safe and supportive environment. Children are welcome; childcare and light snacks will be provided.

Join us when you can, the third Sunday of each month at Mt. Baker Park Presbyterian Church.  3201 Hunter Blvd. South, Seattle. Please enter the door on the building’s west side, on 37th Avenue S.   You can email Aer at southseattlecares@gmail.com or text (646) 470-2273 with any questions, or to learn more. Please RSVP for childcare.

Don’t see a community support group near you? We are always looking for great partners! If you or a caregiver you know live in another part of King County and are interested in working with CaRES to support a community group or quarterly event, please email Kati Brown at brownk77@uw.edu.

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:

Community Health Care Foster/Adoption Clinic: The Foster and Adoption Clinic at Community Health Care provides full-service health care for adults and children that are part of the foster, adoption, kinship, and guardianship community. This includes caregivers, as well as their biological children and placed children. The clinic offers medical, dental and behavioral health care as well as an on-site pharmacy and lab services for a convenient one-stop shop. The clinic is located in Tacoma and serves families in Pierce, Kitsap, King and Thurston Counties. They accept most insurances and sliding-scale fees for those without coverage. No one will be turned away for financial reasons.

Eileen & Callie’s Place: Eileen & Callie’s offers personal mentorship matching for young women ages 17-24 during and after aging out of the foster care system. Mentors develop trust with mentees, share resources to support their growth and provide skills coaching. They also host an annual birthday party, Celebrate 18! To honor and celebrate the coming of age of these young women. They primarily search South King County but are with technology can work with any girl who is interested.

Foster Champs of Maple Valley: Foster Champs of Maple Valley offers support and services to foster, kinship, adoptive families in Pierce and King counties. They operate a clothing closet and diaper distribution in Enumclaw. Foster Champs also facilitates opportunities for support across the region. Monthly support dinners for caregivers and their families meet monthly in Maple Valley and casual, adults only, meet-ups happen regularly in Auburn. They also host special events and a closed Facebook group where caregivers can get support and resources from peers. Caregivers will need to contact Foster Champs of Washington to complete a brief intake to gain access to their events and resources.

Fostering Hope Seattle: Fostering Hope Seattle provides quality items for foster youth aging out of the foster care system, as well as licensed foster parents with material needs such as furniture, kitchen supplies, bedding, home goods, cleaning supplies and personal care kits. Fostering Hope Seattle also hosts a monthly support group on the 3rd Tuesday of the month in Seattle. Childcare and training hours are offered.

KidsQuest Children’s Museum: KidsQuest offers $3 admission to children in out of home placement and their caregivers. Present your foster care license, or the child’s WIC, Apple Heath or Provider One card when purchasing tickets. Low sensory days regularly occur on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 3-5 and are offered free of charge. Be sure to pre-register to help the museum keep attendance low. Available to families living state-wide.

Kym’s Kiddie Corner:  Kym’s Kiddie Corner is a kid’s clothing store in North Seattle. They have consignment and new items as well as baby gear, furniture, toys, clothing and more! Foster and kinship families receive 10% off. Plan to show your foster care license, foster care card or placement letter when you visit. 

Little Hands Creations: Little Hands Creations brings hands on art experiences to children across the region. Their in-house enrichment classes and camps are free to any children in the care of a licensed foster or kinship caregiver. Email littlehandscreations@gmail.com with a photo of your license or foster care ID card for help registering. This is available for families across the state. 

Museum of Flight: Visit the Museum of Flight with 50% general admission for up to two adults and free entry for up to six children residing in the household when you show your foster care ID card or license. Admission is complementary for all museum visitors on the first Thursday of each from 5-9pm. These deals are available to foster families throughout the state when visiting the museum.

Pacific Science Center: Pacific Science Center offers free family-level memberships for all licensed foster and licensed kinship families. Visit the Pacific Science Center or email membership@pacsci.org to sign up. This membership also grants access to IMAX movies, guest tickets and other perks at discounted rates. This is available for families state-wide who would like to visit. 

Seattle Angels: Seattle Angels’ Love Box program builds community and provides radical support for foster families through intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship. The Dare to Dream program offers one-on-one mentorship to youth in out of home placement aged 11-22, empowering them to develop skills, pursue passions, and achieve their goals through supporting relationships. Available to families residing in King County.

Seattle Aquarium: Visit the Seattle Aquarium with free general admission tickets for foster and kinship caregivers with valid foster care license or Kinship Navigator Card. Accommodates up to two adult caregivers and six children sharing a household. Must be requested at the Aquarium and used for the next available entry time, it does not allow for admission reservations. $35 annual memberships are also available. Available to families living anywhere in Washington State. 

Seattle Children’s Museum:Foster and Kinship families are welcome to take part in the Museums for All program. Show your child’s Provider One, EBT, chip, WIC or Apple Health cards for museum entry for $3 per person. You can also get 75% off family memberships and discounts for special museum programs and parties. Available to families across the state which children experiencing out of home placement.

Seattle Children’s Theatre: Seattle Children’s Theatre invites all foster and kinship caregivers and their children to enjoy a show at the Theatre. Call or email the ticket office and request SCT for All tickets to your preferred show and the monetary amount that is feasible for your family to pay. Available to families across the state to enjoy.

Woodland Park Zoo: Discounted tickets to the Woodland Park Zoo are available for kinship and licensed foster families with verification provided at time of entry. $5 Discover Tickets are available for up to 6 household members and can be purchased online or in-person. $35 annual Explorer Pass memberships are available to caregiving families with verification and purchase in-person at the Woodland Park Zoo membership offices. Annual passes allow entry to two named adults and up to six children in the household. These discounts are available to caregiving families state-wide.

The Works: The Works is a clothing closet available to any child residing within Shoreline School District boundaries or who attends a Shoreline school. It is stocked with high quality, clean, used clothing and hygiene products for children grades 1-12.

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 4 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!