Supporting the Well-Being of Every Child

A Focus on Relationships

By nurturing trust and connections between the most important people in a child’s life, our therapists aim to minimize trauma, stabilize placements, and facilitate healthy transitions for children living in foster care or in-home dependencies. We advocate for best practice around caregiver-parent relationships, visitation, and transitions, and provide ongoing support to help lessen the stress that children and families can experience during this time. While we do not advocate for a particular permanency plan, we do support reunification whenever possible and encourage connections between caregivers and parents.

Our programs offer specialized Infant Mental Health supports for children ages 0-3 and expanded services for children ages 3-5, with skilled providers trained to address the unique social and emotional needs of children living in either out-of-home placements or in-home dependencies and their families. We know that every child has a unique story and experience, and we provide individualized, trauma-informed support to help meet the emotional needs of the children accessing our services.

Our Story

In 2004, the clinical social work team at Kindering, a neurodevelopmental center serving Washington state since 1962, developed a program to provide a safety net of services for foster children in need of additional social-emotional support. This program was named CHERISH: Children Encouraged by Relationships in Secure Homes. In 2012, CHERISH secured funding to begin expanding the program to other Early Supports for Infants and Toddlers agencies— CHERISH Replication training is now supported through both public and private grants, including the NW Children’s Foundation. Best Starts for Kids provided additional funding in 2018 to expand services to meet the needs of children ages 3-5 in foster and kinship care, and today we serve more than 400 foster children in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties each year. To learn more, visit kindering.org.

“CHERISH is designed to facilitate positive relationships between the adults in a child’s life so the focus can be on ensuring that a child develops and maintains their own healthy relationships. They learn the world around them can be reliable, nurturing, loving, and can meet their wants and needs.”