1120. Safety Assessment

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary

Original Date: December 2011

Revised Date: October 19, 2017

Policy Review: October 1, 2021

Purpose Statement

A Safety Assessment is based on comprehensive information gathering and is used to identify safety threats and determine when a child is safe or unsafe throughout the life of a case.


This policy applies to Children’s Administration (CA) staff.


RCW 26.44.195  Negligent treatment or maltreatment, offer services, evidence of substance abuse, in-home services, initiation of dependency proceedings

RCW 26.44.030 Reports, duty and authority to make, duty of receiving agency, duty to notify, case planning and consultation, penalty for unauthorized exchange of information, filing dependency petitions, investigations, interviews of children, records, risk assessment process

PL 105-89 Adoption Safe Family Act


  1. Child safety will be determined by gathering and assessing comprehensive information about a family's behaviors, functioning and conditions.
  2. A Safety Assessment will be completed at key decision points in a case to determine if safety threats exist and whether a safety plan can be developed with families to control or manage the identified threats.


The caseworker must:

  1. Complete and document a Safety Assessment at the following key points in a case:
    1. On all screened in Child Protective Services (CPS) intakes (including new intakes on active cases) no later than 30 calendar days from date of intake.
    2. On Division of Licensed Resources(DLR)/CPS intakes (including new intakes on active cases) that include a victim who is a biological, adoptive, or guardianship child of the subject, no later than 30 calendar days from the date of intake. DLR/CPS caseworkers must follow additional requirements per 2335 DLR/CPS Use of Safety Assessment and Safety Planning Tools policy.
    3. During the completion of the Comprehensive Family Evaluation.
    4. Before recommending unsupervised or overnight visits.
    5. When considering reunification or trial return home.
    6. When there is a change in household members.
    7. A visitor resides on the premises more than five calendar days and:
      1. A child is in-home; or
      2. A child is placed out-of-home and having unsupervised family time in the parent’s home.
    8. When considering case closure and new safety and/or risk factors have been identified since the most recent safety assessment was completed.
  2. Determine if the child is safe or unsafe by:
    1. Gathering and assessing information through a review of CA history that includes prior intakes, service interventions, interviews and observations.
    2. Verifying information through source documents and contacts with collaterals. Information collected will include but is not limited to the following:
      1. Nature and extent of the maltreatment,
      2. Sequence of events that accompany the maltreatment,
      3. Child functioning on a daily basis,
      4. Parental disciplinary practices,
      5. General parenting practices, and
      6. Adult functioning.
    3. Considering and evaluating each potential safety threat using the Safety Threshold Guide criteria to determine if safety threats exist.
  3. When a child is identified as unsafe, the safety plan analysis must be used to determine if an in-home safety plan can manage or control the safety threats or if out-of-home placement is necessary.
  4. When a child n CA care and custody is determined to be unsafe with a licensed or unlicensed caregiver, the child must be removed from their placement.
  5. Review the safety assessment at case transfer.


Information Gathering Questions

Safety Threshold Guide

Safety Threats Guide (located on the CA intranet)