Regional Support

Region 6

Welcome! You’re in Region 6, which includes Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skamania, Thurston, and Wahkiakum 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.

Amanda Merriman
CaRES Mentor Region 6

Amanda and her husband have been foster parents since 2015. They have welcomed many children into their home and helped to facilitate successful reunification. Amanda strives to maintain supportive relationships with families during the course of their case and after reunification.  In doing so she has gained great perspective on the importance of nurturing relationships between biological families and their children. This became a passion of hers after the adoption of her daughter in 2020. She now hopes to use her experience to support fellow foster families in their journey through 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.

Rachael TurnerRacheal Turner
CaRES Mentor Region 6

Racheal Turner is from Port Angeles, WA. She is married with two biological children, two adopted children, and guardianship of one. She and her husband have been foster parents since 2007. They specialize in teenage foster children. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management, a master’s degree in teaching, and currently holds a teaching certificate in Washington State. She and her family enjoy racing, camping, hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.

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 Connector
Clark County



(4/16) Jefferson/Clallam Counties
Join CaRES mentor Racheal, kinship caregiver Valerie and the wonderful folks from Foster Supports for a welcoming evening of dinner, support, and connection in Chimacum. This group is open to all relatives, kinship and licensed foster parents regardless of placement or case status and will be held April 16th from 5:00pm-7:00pm at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.  Foster Supports will provide a light supper and childcare so please RSVP by April 11th by emailing  This group meets the third Tuesday of each month! 

The Lutheran Church is located at 45 Redeemer Way in Chimacum. While the church has graciously provided space for this event, the group has no religious affiliation and all families on this invitation are welcome to attend. 

(4/18) Clark County Support Group

Are you looking for a fun way to BUILD your community as a relative, kinship, or foster parent?

Join us on Thursday, April 18th at the Andresen Home Depot, at 6:00 p.m. for a fun evening of connection and hands-on building at our Alliance CaRES Activity and Support Group. Home Depot has graciously arranged this special event and will supply planter-building kits for our caregivers to engage with their kiddos. Your Alliance CaRES community Connector and Mentor will be onsite to support you at this event and ongoing.

We will meet in the Lumber aisle. between aisles 34 and 33. RSVP 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!  

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!

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!

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:

Bridge the Gap: Bridge the Gap provides funds to ensure that children in out of home placement have access to the same enriching experiences as their peers. They provide financial support for activities like swimming lessons, dance classes, athletics, horse riding, martial arts or music lessons. They also offer generous funding for kids to attend camps and have availability to pay for tutoring. Bridge the Gap also has some tangible goods to fill requests, as needed, so feel free to ask. Serving all children in out of home placement residing in Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania Counties

Cloth+Foster: Cloth+Foster is a clothing and resource closet that supports children and families experiencing foster care in Southwest Washington and surrounding counties. Here you will find access to concrete goods such as clothing, gear, toiletries, shoes, toys, books and for all children from infants to young adults.

Capital Kids Connection: Capital Kids Connection seeks to make a positive impact on children experiencing foster care by granting “wishes” for children and youth living in Thurston, Mason and Lewis Counties. Capital Kids Connection offers $100 towards a special item or experience of a kid’s choosing and can also provide holiday gifts for children in out of home care.

Compelled to CareCompelled to Care provides direct services to foster, adoptive and kinship caregivers including family dinners with childcare and training, parent night outs, and a care team that can offer meal trains and care packages to caregivers. They host community and holiday events as well as monthly meetups. Visit their website or Facebook page to get connected and learn about all the support they offer to caregivers in Thurston and Grey’s Harbor Counties.
In Thurston County, Compelled to Care also coordinates Care Boxes for children immediately upon their placement in foster care as well as special Graduation Boxes with cases in Thurston County, so check with your DCYF worker to get connected to these resources.

Dry Tikes and Wet Wipes: This program supplements the diaper needs of low-income families, including foster and kinship families. They serve Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey and the surrounding areas.

Foster Supports of Jefferson County: Foster Supports of Jefferson County provides access to clothing, new shoes, educational support and activity sponsorship for children experiencing foster care. They also host special events for families and children.

Hands On Children’s Museum: Hands on Children’s Museum offers discounted museum memberships for any state-dependent child. You may be asked to show their Apple Healthcare card for eligibility. This discount is available to families throughout Washington.

Olympic Angels: Serving children and their foster caregivers on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic Angels provides Love Boxes which support entire family units with gifts and resources. Trained volunteers also provide mentorship for adolescents and young adults through their Dare-to-Dream program. Support is available to children and their family whether they are state dependent, in a voluntary placement agreement, recently returned home or are in post-permanency with a guardianship or adoptive family or have aged out of care. All caregivers, whether licensed or not, are eligible.

Pizza Klatch: Pizza Klatch supports LGBTQIA+ youth and their allies by offering groups during lunchtime at participating schools in North Thurston, Tumwater, Olympia, Rainier, Tenino, Rochester and Yelm school districts.

South Sound Foster/Adoptive Clothing Closet: This Facebook based organization provides free clothing for children experiencing foster care, aged 0-12 in Olympia area. They can also offer shoes, gear, toys, strollers and other concrete goods.

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.

Youth to Teen Essentials: Youth to Teen Essentials is a clothing bank in Shelton, serving children in foster, kinship or adoptive care. They stock sizes newborn to 3XL.

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.

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 6 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!