Parents for Parents Program
Superior Court offers a program to help parents whose children have been removed from their care by Child Protective Services (CPS) or whose children are in an in-home dependency. The "Parents for Parents Program” connects "Parent Allies" (parents who have successfully navigated the juvenile dependency system) with parents who are new to the system. Parent Allies provide support and help parents new to the system understand what they must do to successfully reunite with their children.
The program consists of three main elements: Parent Ally Support at Dependency Court Hearings, a two-hour educational class called Dependency 101, and an ongoing support class called Dependency 201.
The first court hearing in a juvenile dependency case is called the 72-Hour Shelter Care Hearing. At this hearing, a judge or commissioner decides whether it is safe for the child to remain in the home or whether the child should be placed in out-of-home care. The focus of the hearing is to protect the child and offer ways for the parent to address the issues that led to the state’s involvement. The Parents for Parents Program focuses on providing support and information at this hearing in particular as well as subsequent hearings.
Parents typically come to the Shelter Care Hearing feeling scared, confused, angry, and alone. A Parent Ally meets with parents before they go into court and helps them understand that others have been through this process, reminding them that this process is doable and reunification is possible. This in turn encourages parents to engage in the dependency process and work with the professionals. The Parent Ally also gathers contact information from the parent, signs him or her up for the Dependency 101 class, and provides any resources that can benefit them in their dependency case.
Dependency 101 is a two-hour session designed to educate parents about the dependency system and help parents learn to navigate it. Parent Allies and system stakeholders collaborate in presenting the information. During the class, parents:
- Receive a packet with information on the dependency process, a calendar to track appointments, a list of important phone numbers, a Family Treatment Court pamphlet, a list of current community resources, and other tools to assist them;
- Watch an educational video about the dependency process;
- Listen to Parent Allies share their experience with the dependency system; and
- Hear a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), an Assistant Attorney General, a Social Worker, a Family Treatment Court representative, a Fathers Engagement Specialist, a Parent’s Attorney, and a Mediation representative discuss their roles in the dependency process and how they interact with parents, children, and the court.
Dependency 101 Classes are held:
- Seattle: At the King County Courthouse on the third Thursday of the month from 11:30am-1:30pm, on the 9th floor in room C-912
- Kent: At the Maleng Regional Justice Center on the second Monday of the month from 11:30am-1:30pm, on the detention side of the building in room B-174A
Dependency 201 is a six-week course designed to offer continued mentoring and resource support throughout the dependency case. It covers a variety of topics geared towards empowering and educating parents on continued success in a dependency case. Parents can choose to join one or all six of the courses offered, with certificates given for each course completed. The course topics include:
- Housing and DSHS Services;
- Family Law Resources;
- Parenting and Childcare Resources;
- Navigating the Dependency System; and
- Life Skills.
The only requirement is previous Dependency 101 class attendance.
Dependency 201 Classes are held:
- Seattle: At the King County Superior Courthouse, every Tuesday, 2:00pm – 4:00pm, on the 9th Floor in room C-912
- Kent: At the Maleng Regional Justice Center, every Friday, 1:00pm to 3:00pm, on the detention side of the building in room B-174A
- Jill Murphy, Program Supervisor, at (206) 477-2311 or Jill.Murphy@kingcounty.gov.
Program Office Locations: The program currently operates at the King County Courthouse in Seattle in Room C202C and at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent in Room 1K.
Learn about Parents for Parents on King County TV:
- Parents for Parents (2010)