1710. Shared Planning Meetings

Original Date: September 1, 2006

Revised Date: September 1, 2021

Sunset Review Date: September 30, 2025

Approved by: Jody Becker, Deputy Secretary


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on conducting shared planning meetings (SPMs) to engage parents, children and youth, caregivers, relatives, fictive kin, natural supports, and others, as appropriate, in the development of a plan that prioritizes child safety and meets the support and service needs of the parents, children and youth, and caregivers. These meetings provide an opportunity for information to be shared, case plans to be developed and decisions made that will support the safety, permanency, and well-being of children.


This policy applies to child welfare employees.


RCW 13.34.067 Shelter Care, Case Conference, Service Agreement

RCW 13.34.094 Description of Services Provided to Parents

RCW 13.34.145 Permanency planning hearing-Purpose - Time limits-Goals-Review hearing - Petition for termination of parental rights - Guardianship petition - Agency responsibility to provide services to parents - Due process rights

RCW 74.13.341 Transition plan - Qualification for developmental disability services

RCW 74.13.540 Independent Living Services

RCW 74.14A.020 Services for emotionally disturbed and mentally ill children, potentially dependent children, and families-in-conflict

PL 113-183 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act


  1. SPMs must occur within the required timeframes or when required due to circumstances outlined in the Guide to Shared Planning Meetings DCYF CWP_0070 publication for the following meeting types:
    1. Adoption Planning Review
    2. Behavioral Rehabilitative Services
    3. Child Health and Education Tracking (CHET)
    4. Commercially Sexually Exploited Children
    5. Developmental Disabilities Services Planning
    6. End-of-Life Care
    7. Family Team Decision Making (FTDM)
    8. Foster Care Assessment Program 
    9. Local Indian Child Welfare Advisory Committee
    10. Mental Health/Substance Abuse Treatment Planning
    11. Permanency Planning Meeting
    12. Shelter Care Case Conference 
    13. Transition Staffing: Transition Plan for Dependent Youth 17 through 20 years, referred to as Multi-Disciplinary Staffing (For Youth 17.5) in FamLink
  2. Participants listed on the Guide to Shared Planning Meetings DCYF CWP_0070 publication must be invited to SPMs.
  3. Incarcerated parents must be provided access and opportunities to participate in SPMs.
  4. The child’s or youth’s safety, permanency and well-being must be discussed during SPMs.
  5. Family time and sibling and relative visits must be discussed during the meeting when children or youth are placed out of the home. Discussions will include a review of the family time and sibling and relative visitation plans, necessary level of supervision during the family time to verify the safety of the child or youth, transportation, and efforts to include relatives and family supports during family time.
  6. SPMs must be documented on the Shared Planning Meeting DCYF 14-474 form in FamLink.


  1. The assigned caseworker or supervisor must:
    1. Conduct a SPM within the timeframes or circumstances described in the Guide to Shared Planning Meetings DCYF CWP_0070 publication.
    2. Ask youth age 14 and older to identify at least two support persons to attend the meeting who are not the caseworker or caregiver.
      1. One of the individuals selected may be designated to be the youth’s advocate when discussing normal childhood activities under the reasonable and prudent parenting standard.
      2. Any individual identified by the youth must be able to act in the youth’s best interest.
      3. If the caseworker or tribal agency has good cause to believe the youth’s identified support person is not acting in the best interest, he or she may be asked to leave the meeting.
    3. Invite participants indicated on the Guide to Shared Planning Meetings DCYF CWP_0070 publication a minimum of five calendar days before the meeting, when possible. If not possible, the effort to invite participants will be documented in a case note.
    4. Ask all individuals invited to the SPM, if they need an interpreter for the SPM, per the following DCYF Administrative policies:
      1. 6.02 Access to Services for Clients and Caregivers who are Limited English Proficient (LEP).
      2. 6.03 Access to Services for Individuals with Disabilities.
    5. Provide alternative methods to participate in the SPMs such as conference calls and video conferencing.
    6. Obtain releases of information from parents and youth age 13 and older before the SPM if any information regarding their mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, access to reproductive services or sexually transmitted diseases/human immunodeficiency virus is discussed or shared with meeting participants.
    7. After the shelter care hearing but before the following SPMs, describe the SPM process to parents requesting or participating in either a:
      1. FTDM 
      2. Shelter Care Case Conference 
      3. Permanency Planning Meeting
  2. If the child or youth, caregiver, or parent is unable to attend the SPM their input will be presented by the assigned caseworker and will be considered.
  3. During the meeting, the assigned caseworker or supervisor must:
    1. Present a case history and the child’s or youth’s and family’s current situation.
    2. Provide participants the opportunity to present information and engage in the shared planning process.
    3. Identify family strengths and community and cultural supports.
    4. Address and review the following, when applicable:
      1. Safety
        1. Safety assessments
        2. Safety plans
        3. Services needed to reduce safety concerns and increase protective capacities
      2. Permanency
        1. All primary and alternate permanency plans.
        2. Progress toward achieving a permanent plan and appropriateness of the case plan to address safety threats and barriers to reunification.
        3. Compelling reasons, if a termination of parental rights has not been filed within 12 months of the child’s or youth’s original placement date.
        4. Placement stability
        5. Appropriateness of current placement.
        6. Child’s or youth’s adjustment in the placement.
        7. The need for services to reduce risk of disruption.
        8. Sibling connections. This includes efforts to place siblings together and maintain sibling visits or contacts.
        9. The level of supervision needed to manage safety threats during family time.
        10. Relative search efforts, status of Tribal affiliation, involvement and notification to relatives and Tribes.
        11. Plan to maintain community and cultural connections.
      3. Well-being
        1. Mental health, physical health and well-being of the child or youth, including medical information and needs. This includes determining if a Wraparound Intensive Services referral needs to be made for a child or youth with complex behavioral health needs.
        2. Alternative plan for assessment and treatment if the child or youth has been denied mental health or substance abuse services.
        3. Services to support healthy development and attachment.  This includes normal childhood activities under the reasonable and prudent parenting standard.
        4. The child’s or youth’s connections with siblings and other relatives. For youth 16 and above, this includes discussing skills and strategies to safely reconnect with any identified family members and provide guidance and services to assist the youth.
        5. Child’s or youth’s education status, needs and supports. Assign tasks and responsibilities as appropriate for their education to include but not limited to, school enrollment, transportation, referrals for school-based services.
        6. Results of the CHET screening and other assessments if available. If CHET results are not available, present results at the next scheduled SPM.
        7. Services and activities needed to support the youth in their transition to adulthood:
          1. For youth 14 years of age and older as part of transition planning:
            1. Education
            2. Employment
            3. Housing
            4. Health insurance
            5. Mentors and continuing supports
          2. For youth 15 years of age and older, status of referrals to Independent Living Services contract providers.
          3. For youth 16 through 16.5 years of age, who may be eligible for DDA services:
            1. Eligibility for developmental disability waiver services.
            2. Services the youth wants or needs on exit from dependency.
            3. Advanced planning for:
              1. Residential services provided by DDA.
              2. Housing options available from other entities.
            4. Action plans to have services in place following the youth’s exit from a dependency.
        8. Cultural or Tribal connections.
  4. Document the following using the Shared Planning Meeting DCYF 14-474 form in FamLink, within the required documentation timeframes:
    1. All information discussed during SPMs.
    2. Individuals who were invited and attended the meeting.
    3. All Individuals were provided the Public Notice of Nondiscrimination DCYF HR_0012 publication, per the DCYF Administrative 6.03 Access to Services for Individuals with Disabilities policy.
  5. Create and update the following, but not limited to, when needed:
    1. Safety Plan
    2. Family Time and Sibling and Relative Visitation Plan
    3. Comprehensive Family Evaluation
    4. Court Report, for dependent children
    5. Case Plan, for FAR and FVS cases
    6. Education Plan
    7. Transition Plan for Youth Exiting Care DCYF 15-417
    8. Referrals to services


Parents Information Sheet for Shared Planning Meetings and Staffings DCYF 15-260

Shared Planning Meeting DCYF 14-474

Transition Plan for Youth Exiting Care DCYF 15-417



Prudent Parenting Guide DCYF CWP 0078 publication

DCYF Administrative 6.02 Access to Services for Clients and Caregivers who are Limited English Proficient (LEP)

DCYF Administrative 6.03 Access to Services for Individuals with Disabilities policy

Guide to Shared Planning Meetings DCYF CWP_0070 publication

Public Notice of Nondiscrimination DCYF HR_0012 publication

Understanding the Dependency Court Process DCYF CWP_0044 publication