Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
Email Feedback | Printing Help
Case Services Policy Manual

3000. ASSESSMENT

3200. CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES (CPS)

3210. Investigation

  1. Investigate (assess) referrals which allege child abuse and neglect (CA/N) or the risk of CA/N to determine the existence or absence of CA/N. RCW 26.44.030; RCW 26.44.050
  2. The department shall arrange for legal intervention when needed. RCW 13.34.040
  3. CA social workers are responsible for informing parents of their legal rights and responsibilities as set forth in RCW 13.34.060. RCW 13.34.060; RCW 13.34.090; RCW 26.44.105
  4. CPS may interview children outside the presence of the parents but must notify parent(s) of the interview at the earliest possible point in the investigation that will not jeopardize the safety or protection of the child or the course of the investigation. RCW 26.44.030
  5. CPS may photograph any child on whom a CPS referral has been made for the purposes of providing documentary evidence of the physical condition of the child. RCW 26.44.050
  6. Whenever the department completes an investigation of a child abuse or neglect report, the department shall notify the alleged perpetrator of the report and the department's investigative findings and the alleged perpetrator's rights of review and appeal. RCW 26.44.100

3220. CPS Case Assessment

  1. CPS shall use a risk assessment process when investigating alleged child abuse and neglect referrals. The department shall present the risk factors at all hearings in which the placement of a dependent child is an issue. Substance abuse must be considered a risk factor. RCW 26.44.030
  2. CPS shall assess risk of abuse and neglect to children and provide or refer to early prevention, intervention, and treatment services to advise parents about services to strengthen families and prevent serious or continuing CA/N. RCW 74.14A.020
  3. DCFS shall make a full family-focused case assessment, which includes an examination of the family's entire situation to identify problems experienced by children and their families early and provide services which are adequate in availability, appropriate to the situation, and effective. RCW 74.14A.020

3221. Drug and Alcohol Assessment

  1. When a CPS referral requires a face to face contact with the family, there shall be a determination of whether it is probable that the use of alcohol or controlled substances is a contributing factor to the alleged abuse or neglect.
  2. The department shall provide appropriate training for persons who conduct the investigations under paragraph A, above. The training shall include methods of identifying indicators of abuse of alcohol or controlled substances.
  3. If a determination is made under paragraph A that there is probable cause to believe abuse of alcohol or controlled substances has contributed to the child abuse or neglect, the department shall, within available funds, cause a comprehensive chemical dependency evaluation to be made of the person or persons so identified. The evaluation shall be conducted by a physician or persons certified under rules adopted by the department to make such evaluation. RCW 26.44.170

3222. Notification to Alleged Perpetrator

  1. The department shall notify the alleged perpetrator of the allegations of child abuse and neglect at the earliest possible point in the investigation that will not jeopardize the safety and protection of the child or the investigation process. RCW 26.44.100
  2. Whenever the department completes an investigation of a child abuse or neglect report under chapter 26.44 RCW, the department shall notify the alleged perpetrator of the report and the department's investigative findings. The notice shall also advise the alleged perpetrator that:
    1. A written response to the report may be provided to the department and that such response will be filed in the record following receipt by the department;
    2. Information in the department's record may be considered in subsequent investigations or proceedings related to child protection or child custody;
    3. Founded reports of child abuse and neglect may be considered in determining that a person is disqualified from being licensed to provide child care, employed by a licensed child care agency, or authorized by the department to care for children; and RCW 26.44.100
    4. An alleged perpetrator named in a founded report of child abuse or neglect has the right to seek review of the finding as provided in chapter 26.44 RCW. RCW 26.44.100
  3. The notification required by this section shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the person's last known address. RCW 26.44.100
  4. The duty of notification created by this section is subject to the ability of the department to ascertain the location of the person to be notified. The department shall exercise reasonable, good-faith efforts to ascertain the location of persons entitled to notification under this section. RCW 26.44.100
  5. Request for Review and Administrative Hearing
    1. A person who is named as an alleged perpetrator after October 1, 1998, in a founded report of child abuse or neglect has the right to seek review and amendment of the finding as provided in this paragraph.
    2. Within 20 calendar days after receiving written notice from the department under RCW 26.44.100 that a person is named as an alleged perpetrator in a founded report of child abuse or neglect, he or she may request that the department review the finding. The request must be in writing. If a request for review is not made as provided in this paragraph, the alleged perpetrator may not further challenge the finding and shall have no right to agency review or to an adjudicative finding or judicial review of the finding. RCW 26.44.125
    3. Upon receipt of a written request for review, the department shall review and, if appropriate, may amend the finding. Management level staff within the Children's Administration designated by the Secretary shall be responsible for the review. The review must be conducted in accordance with procedures established by the department by rule. Upon completion of the review, the department shall notify the alleged perpetrator in writing of the department's determination. The notification must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the person's last known address.
    4. If, following agency review, the report remains founded, the person named as the alleged perpetrator in the report may request an adjudicative hearing to contest the finding. The adjudicative proceeding is governed by Chapter 34.05 RCW and this section. The request for an adjudicative proceeding must be filed within 30 calendar days after receiving notice of the agency review determination. If a request for an adjudicative proceeding is not made as provided here, the alleged perpetrator may not further challenge the finding and shall have no right to agency review or to an adjudicative hearing or judicial review of the finding.
    5. Reviews and hearings conducted under this section are confidential and shall not be open to the public. Information about reports, reviews, and hearings may be disclosed only in accordance with federal and state laws pertaining to child welfare records and child protective services reports. RCW 26.44.125

3230. Assessment for Out-of-Home Placement

  1. DCFS shall serve children and families as a unit in the least restrictive setting available and in close proximity to the family home, consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child. RCW 74.14A.020
  2. Through an expression of intent, the Legislature, recognizing that a child's removal from his/her home is often traumatic to the child, efforts should be made to arrange for the alleged offender, rather than the child, to leave the home if the child can be protected from further abuse while remaining in the home. If necessary, a restraining order to prevent further contact between the alleged offender and the child shall be pursued. RCW 26.44.063
  3. Out-of-home placement shall be utilized as a last resort when either a child cannot be protected from risk of imminent harm in his/her home or when reasonable efforts to remedy CA/N have failed. RCW 13.34.020
  4. Within amounts appropriated for the specific purpose, the department will provide preventive services to families with children that prevent or shorten the duration of an out-of-home placement. RCW 74.13.031
  5. Placements will be made only after all reasonable efforts have been made and documented to stabilize the family and assure the health, safety, or welfare of the child residing in the home. After placing a child temporarily, reasonable efforts will be made to reunify the family. RCW 13.34.060
  6. The department shall present the risk factors at all hearings in which the placement of a dependent child is an issue. RCW 26.44.030

3231. Evaluating Children in Foster Care

  1. Designated professionals are to develop a set of minimum guidelines to be used for identifying all children who are in a state-assisted support system, whether at-home or out-of-home, who are likely to need long-term care or assistance, because they face physical, emotional, medical, mental, or other long-term challenges.
  2. The guidelines must, at a minimum, consider the following criteria for identifying children in need of long-term care or assistance:
    1. Placement within the foster care system for two years or more;
    2. Multiple foster care placements;
    3. Repeated unsuccessful efforts to be placed with a permanent adoptive family;
    4. Chronic behavioral or educational problems;
    5. Repetitive criminal acts or offenses;
    6. Failure to comply with court-ordered disciplinary actions and other imposed guidelines of behavior, including drug and alcohol rehabilitation; and
    7. Chronic physical, emotional, medical, mental, or other similar conditions necessitating long-term care or assistance.
  3. Develop programs that are necessary for the long-term care of children and youth that are identified for the purposes of this section. Programs must:
    1. Effectively address the educational, physical, emotional, mental, and medical needs of children and youth; and
    2. Incorporate an array of family support options, to individual needs and choices of the child and family.
  4. Conduct an evaluation of all children currently within the foster care agency caseload to identify those children who meet the criteria set forth in this section.
  5. The department is to accomplish the tasks of this section within existing resources. RCW 74.14A.050 and 2000 c 232 s 1

3232. Coordination of Services

  1. The department of social and health services shall develop methods for coordination of services to parents and children in child dependency cases. To the maximum extent possible under current funding levels, the department must:
    1. Coordinate and integrate services to children and families, using service plans and activities that address the children's and families' multiple needs;
    2. Develop treatment plans for the individual needs of the client in a manner that minimizes the number of contacts the client is required to make; and
    3. Access training for department staff to increase skills across disciplines to assess needs for mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and other areas. RCW 13.34

3240. Eligibility for Out-of-Home Placement

  1. One of the following must exist to constitute legal authority for out-of-home placement:
    1. Police hold.
    2. Court order, including a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) petition. RCW 13.34.050
    3. Hospital/Medical Administrator/Physician Hold. RCW 26.44.056
    4. Voluntary placement of children with the family's decision to place the child outside the home per 4307 Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) policy.
  2. CA staff must place only children for whom the staff have legal authority for the placement and then only in homes or facilities licensed or certified under chapter 26.44 RCW or relatives not required to be licensed under chapter 26.44 RCW. Staff may place children in unlicensed adoptive homes following completion of a home study, in accordance with RCW 74.15.020. RCW 74.15.090; RCW 74.15.020

3241. Out-of-Home Placement of Developmentally Disabled Children

  1. When the sole reason for the out-of-home placement is the child's developmental disability, the caregivers shall be referred to Division of Developmental Disabilities Voluntary Placement Program.
  2. Nothing in this section shall prevent the department from filing a dependency petition if there is reason to believe that the child meets the criteria for dependency as defined in RCW.

3300. FAMILY RECONCILIATION SERVICES (FRS)

3310. FRS Case Assessment

Intake and assessment services, which may involve a local multi-disciplinary team in its response in determining the services to be provided and in providing those services, for FRS shall include:

  1. Exploration of the seriousness of the situation that triggered the crisis. RCW 13.32A.040; RCW 74.14A.025
  2. Determination of family strengths. RCW 13.32A.040
  3. Assessment of the need for CPS services, including reporting of all cases of suspected child abuse. RCW 13.32A.090