Prospective Foster Parents Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and Youth?

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) happens when a person buys, trades, or sells sexual acts with a child or youth under the age of 18. Many of the same risk factors that lead children into foster care system also leave children vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. For example, lack of family connections and past abuse.


What does it look like to be a Foster Parent for a Commercially Sexually Exploited Child (CSEC)?

Fostering a child who has been commercially sexually exploited can be challenging. At the same time, it can be extremely rewarding. Families in the ConnectUP program can expect to receive extensive support from a team of professionals specialized in working with commercially sexually exploited children and youth. Moreover, the ConnectUP program is intended to create community and support among ConnectUP foster families. Fostering a commercially sexually exploited child won’t always be easy, but you won’t be in it alone.


What services can I expect for my foster child and my family?

ConnectUP is an intensive, highly-structured, and individualized program that utilizes specially trained and supported foster parents and empowers the foster parent(s) to act as the central agent in implementing the treatment plan. The ConnectUP team provides an array of therapeutic interventions to the child, the child’s family, and the foster family. These interventions may include:

  • Individual and/or family therapy

  • Clinical case management

  • Substance Use Disorder (SUD) services

  • Psychiatry/medication management as needed

  • 24/7 Crisis Response (Evening/Weekend crisis outreach is by the Children’s Crisis Outreach and Response System CCORS).

  • Educational support services

  • CSEC Advocacy – specialized support services for the youth

  • Support group services for the child/youth

  • Support and educational group services for the foster parent(s)

  • 1:1 consultation support for the foster parent(s) with a nationally recognized CSEC expert

  • Support towards legal and relational permanency including family finding and engagement and family group conferences for the youth and their family


I worry about having a high needs youth in my home. Will you provide training and support?

Yes. All licensed foster parents are state-mandated to take a pre-service offered by the state or private child placing agency including the 24 hour Caregiver Core training. There, you will learn about the foster care system, why children enter foster care, and the role of the foster parent. YMCA also provides monthly ongoing trainings out of their Seattle office, as well as a monthly foster parent support group meeting. Additionally, in the ConnectUP Program, you will receive upfront and ongoing training and support specific to fostering commercially sexually exploited children and youth. This can include support meetings and/or access to 1:1 consultation with a nationally recognized subject matter expert.


Who can be a ConnectUP foster parent?

ConnectUP foster parents come from all walks of life. They can be married, single, divorced, LGBTQ, rent or own a house or apartment; be older and retired or young and just starting out. Foster parents need to be at least 21 years old, have a bedroom for the child and the ability to pass a background clearance. They also need to have a source of income to support themselves independent of foster care reimbursements, a flexible schedule to respond to youth’s needs, and most importantly, a genuine fondness for youth.


As a ConnectUP full time foster parent, will I receive a break?

Yes. All Foster Parents are entitled to 2 days of respite leave each month. It is the philosophy of the YMCA that Foster Parents should take all granted monthly leave in the month in which it is earned to provide the safest and most effective care for the children and youth in their home. In keeping with this philosophy, Foster Parents may accrue up to 6 days of monthly respite care per calendar year. In addition Foster Parents with up to 5 years of contiguous service with the YMCA may take up to 14 days of annual respite leave per calendar year.


I’d like to help but am not sure I can be a full-time ConnectUP foster parent. What else can I do?

We have a need for respite ConnectUP foster parents as well as full-time ConnectUP foster parents. A ConnectUP respite foster parent has a child in their home one or two days a month. They may also have a child in their home for one to two weeks a year if they choose. Respite foster parenting is a great way to find out if foster parenting is right for you while allowing the full-time foster parents a little time off.


What are the requirements and time commitments for respite ConnectUP foster parent?

Licensed respite parents are required to meet all of the same licensing requirements as full-time licensed parents. We ask that ConnectUP respite foster parents commit to providing at least two days a month to meet the needs of the children and families in the program.


Will I receive any help covering the expenses of having a ConnectUp child in my home?

Yes. Full-time foster parents can expect individualized reimbursement per child, while respite foster parents receive reimbursement up to $75 per day per child. Reimbursement rates for each child are determined based on the youth and their needs in your home.