Regional Support

Region 5

Welcome! You’re in Region 5, which is Kitsap and Pierce 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.

Nathan LaChine

CaRES Mentor Region 5, 6, & LGBTQIA+ Community Specialist

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.

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.

CaRES Connectors in Region 5 will be announced soon! 



Groups and events are coming soon; keep an eye out for email and social media announcements with the date, time, and location.

We are always looking for great partners! If you or a caregiver you know live in Pierce or Kittitas County and are interested in facilitating a community group or quarterly event, please email Kati at

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!

TBRI Book Club: Relating through the senses (The Connected Therapist): This 3-week book club is an extension of the Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) modules or the TBRI book clubs: The Connected Child and The Connected Parent. Based on selections from “The Connected Therapist” by Marti Smith, discussions during the three sessions will focus on understanding sensory processing challenges, developing sensory processing strategies, and the practical application of those strategies in everyday caregiving. This TBRI book club is an encouraging and welcoming space for foster parents and kinship caregivers to engage in a next step in peer-to-peer support, problem-solving, and learning facilitated by a TBRI practitioner. 
Caregivers who have completed either both TBRI book clubs or the TBRI modules can register. Register here!


Dancing with a Porcupine: The CaRES team leads you through a reading and discussion of “Dancing with a Porcupine” by Jennie Owens. This book shares the compelling story of the author’s struggle to save her own life while caring for three children she and her husband adopted from foster care.
During the three sessions, you will discuss themes including: self-care; trauma-informed care; expectations and hurt feelings; compassion fatigue; and balancing real life with the outside pressure to look like you are doing it all well.  Register here!

Drop-in Discussions

Drop-In groups provide a chance for caregivers to connect with each other online for support and resources informally.  Sometimes you just need to have a conversation with someone else who “gets it”.  As Drop-In groups are not specific trainings and have no curriculum, they do not qualify for training credit.
What can I share in the group? Will my social worker or licensor know I attended this group? Will I receive training credit for attending? Find the answer to these and other questions by clicking here and reading the Drop-In Group FAQ.

It’s All Relative: Kinship Support Drop by for kinship resources, help with licensing, and answers to your kinship questions.
First Thursday from 7:00 – 8:00 pm Click here to join the Zoom session.

TBRI Tuesday: Dive in and discuss parenting challenges using Trust Based Relational Intervention principles! Gather with other caregivers as we discuss how to connect, empower and correct children the TBRI way.
*There is no need to have completed a TBRI training to attend this group. Just come and learn more!
Second Tuesday of each month 7:30 – 8:30 PM Click here to join the Zoom session.

Tuesday, September 12th – How to be mindful and proactive when dealing with Power Struggles

When you give children from chaotic backgrounds choices in how they respond to the need for control in their life, you are building life skills such as making choices, negotiation and overall social skills. Gather with other caregivers as we discuss parenting challenges and how to connect, empower and correct children using TBRI principles!  

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

Click here for resources available statewide, special event recordings, 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:

Ali’s prom project: Making every adolescent feel beautiful is the goal of Ali’s Prom Project which provides dresses, shoes and accessories for special occasions and school dances. They serve girls in foster care as well as students who receive free and reduced lunch. Their location in Tacoma is open to families, regardless of their place of residence or school district.

Enigma Escapes WA: This escape room in Tacoma offers a 10% discount for foster families across the state. Call them to get the discount code to use during online checkout.

Foster Champs of Washington: 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.

HopeSparks Family Services: Hope Sparks Family Services offers a monthly, online support group for individuals raising a relative. The HopesCloset is also available as a clothing resource for any caregiver with placement of a relative child.

Kitsap Foster Care Association: Kitsap Foster Care Association has a variety of supports for Kitsap County foster and kinship families and their children. The DREAM project offers $100 per year per child to support their favorite activities or special wants. They also offer grants to provide support for children’s education needs, caregiver training with childcare provided, family fun events and a holiday gift program for families in need. They also maintain a clothing closet in the Bremerton DCYF office providing up to 3 days’ worth of clothing, diapers and/or formula for children entering care or changing placements without belongings.

New Beginnings Closet: New Beginnings clothing closet is open Thursdays and Sundays from 2-5pm. Foster and Kinship families can make special requests for certain items or go in and shop without an appointment, during open hours. The closet is in Bremerton but serves the Kitsap Community, Belfair and Gig Harbor with clothing for children of all ages.

Greentrike Children’s Museum of Tacoma: Enjoy a day of family fun at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. Admission is by donation and can be no-charge for foster or kinship families who want to explore all the museum has to offer. This is available to families across the state. Check out their low sensory hours which are every Thursday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: Caregivers can access the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium at discounted rates with their “Wild Access Program.” Families will need to show documentation of their status as a licensed foster family or kinship provider, along with Washington State ID. The program is open to all Washington families and allows $5 admission tickets for up to 6 family members or a discounted annual membership which allows a year of admission for an entire family for $40.

WA State History Museum: Washington State History Museum in Tacoma welcomes foster parents with discounted admission of $2 per family. Plan to show your foster parent license and photo identification when purchasing tickets. Museum admission is free to everyone on the third Thursday of each month from 3pm-8pm. These are available to families state-wide.

The Wishing Well Foundation: The Wishing Well provides concrete resources to foster and kinship caregivers within Regions 5 and 6. A physical store is in Parkland (Pierce County) where caregivers can access clothing, formula, diapers and other necessities for children newborn-21. For youth in Extended Foster Care or kinship care, The Wishing Well Foundation also provides a furniture bank.

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

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

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

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

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

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. 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.

Never Miss an Event with CaRES: To add the Region 5 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!