1130. Safety Plan

Original Date:  December 2011

Revised Date:  July 25, 2021

Policy Review:  July 25, 2025

Approved by:  Jody Becker, Deputy Secretary


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on developing, implementing, and monitoring safety plans. A safety plan is a written agreement between a family and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) that identifies how safety threats to children or youth will be immediately controlled and managed in the home. Safety plans are effective as long as threats to children and youth's safety exist and the protective capacities of caregivers are insufficient to protect children or youth.


This policy applies to child welfare (CW) and Licensing Division Child Protective Services (LD CPS) employees.


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

RCW 26.44.195  Negligent treatment or maltreatment – Offer services – Evidence of substance abuse – In-home services – Initiation of dependency proceedings

PL 105-89 Adoption and Safe Families Act


  1. Caseworkers and LD CPS investigators must:
    1. Develop a Safety Plan DCYF 15-258b in FamLink and follow the Safety Plan Analysis Guide:
      1. When an identified safety threat meets the safety threshold and children or youth are determined unsafe.
      2. With participants who are suitable, reliable, and can provide a greater level of protection for children or youth than the parents.
    2. Verify safety plans:
      1. Will control or manage safety threats.
      2. Have an immediate impact and includes actions that immediately address safety threats.
  2. LD CPS investigators must contact the appropriate CW supervisor when they have completed a safety plan on unsafe biological, adoptive, or guardianship children or youth.
  3. Caseworkers must:
    1. Follow the Safety Assessment policy.
    2. Review and monitor safety plans a minimum of twice monthly as long as a safety threat exists.
    3. Revise safety plans and complete a new Safety Assessment/Safety Plan DCYF 15-258 form in FamLink as threats emerge or are eliminated throughout the life of a case.
  4. LD employees must follow the LD CPS Use of Safety Assessment and Safety Planning Tools policy.
  5. CW and LD employees must follow the Documentation policy.


  1. Caseworkers and LD CPS investigators must:
    1. Develop safety plans with the parents and other safety plan participants when children or youth are identified as unsafe and either:
      1. Remain in the home.
      2. Return home by a court order.
      3. Return home and the safety threats can be managed or controlled in the home.
    2. Assess the suitability and reliability of all potential safety plan participants not acting in their professional capacity, e.g. medical provider, therapist, counselor, etc., by:
      1. Conducting a comprehensive interview that addresses identified safety threats.
      2. Reviewing the individual’s information in FamLink and other DCYF electronic and hard files.
      3. Reviewing the results of completed background checks for individuals if they will be having unsupervised access to children or youth.
    3. Follow the Family Team Decision Making policy when considering out-of-home placement or returning children or youth home.
    4. Include the following in safety plans as they pertain to the children or youth and families:
      1. Activities and tasks that control for safety threats or substitutes for diminished caregiver protective capacities.
      2. Use of the family's suitable, formal, and informal supports in order to manage safety threats.
      3. Details for monitoring safety plans.
      4. Supports, safety services, and actions at critical times when safety threats exist.
      5. Formalize any protective action taken if applicable.
  2. LD CPS investigators must follow these additional requirements when safety plans are necessary, per LD CPS Use of Safety Assessment and Safety Planning Tools policy:
    1. Confirm that any safety plan created in a licensed home for biological, adopted, or guardianship children or youth of a provider is preapproved by the LD Safety Administrator or designee.
    2. Not create safety plans in a licensed home for children or youth in out-of-home care. If a safety threat is indicated, the child or youth must be moved.
  3. Supervisors must:
    1. Review and approve the Safety Plan DCYF 15-258b form in FamLink within two business days of entry and every 30 days thereafter. If:
      1. Supporting the decision, approve the safety plan.
      2. Not supporting the decision, return the safety plan to the caseworker for revisions.
    2. Confirm in FamLink that any safety plan developed as a result of a FamLink override are staffed with the Area Administrator (AA) or designee.
    3. Co-assign cases to a caseworker to monitor the case and safety plan, including referring to services, when contacted by an LD CPS investigator after the LD CPS investigator has completed a safety plan.
  4. When a safety plan decision is overridden due to compelling reasons:
    1. Caseworkers must complete the following on the Safety Plan page in FamLink:
      1. Select the appropriate compelling reason for the override of the Safety Plan Decision.
      2. Provide an explanation for the compelling reason.
      3. Complete the Safety Plan DCYF 15-258b form in FamLink if there is an active safety threat and the child or youth has been returned home.
      4. Submit for supervisor approval.
    2. Supervisors must review the Safety Plan DCYF 15-258b form in FamLink and approve the override based on the compelling reasons given on the Safety Plan page in FamLink. If:
      1. Approved, document in FamLink and submit to AA or designee for verbal approval.
      2. Not approved, return the safety plan and safety assessment to the caseworker for revisions.
    3. AAs or designees must review the Safety Plan DCYF 15-258b in FamLink and compelling reasons information and verbally inform the supervisor whether the override is approved.


Safety Assessment/Safety Plan DCYF 15-258

Safety Plan DCYF 15-258b


Background Checks policy

Documentation policy

Family Team Decision Making Meeting policy

Information Gathering Questions

LD CPS Use of Safety Assessment and Safety Planning Tools policy

Present Danger policy

Protective Action Guide

Safety Assessment policy

Safety Plan Analysis Guide

Safety Threshold Guide

Protective Action Guide