5800. Travel and Transportation

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Assistant Secretary

Original Date: February 15, 1998

Revised Date: July 1, 2018

Policy Review: July 1, 2021


Purpose

This policy supports travel and transportation activities for children, parents and caregivers as a part of a case plan.

Scope

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

Laws

RCW 47.04.280 Transportation system policy goals.

RCW 47.06.020 Role of department.

Policy

  1. A child or client receiving services from CA may be eligible for travel or transportation services related to preventing, making or supporting an out-of-home placement if the transportation need is identified as part of a case plan. This includes travel or transportation for:
    1. A child
    2. Parents or guardians
    3. Relatives
    4. Prospective permanent placements
    5. Licensed or unlicensed caregivers
  2. Any CA staff, volunteers, interns, licensed or unlicensed caregivers transporting children, in a privately owned or state vehicle must:
    1. Use age-appropriate child safety seats or restraints for the child
    2. Possess a current, valid driver's license
    3. Possess liability insurance if driving a privately owned vehicle
  3. The caseworker must:
    1. Attempt to obtain outside resources before committing to pay transportation costs or authorizing payments. Outside resources include but are not limited to:
      1. Parents, guardians or kin
      2. Volunteers
      3. Another state’s resources if the child is not from Washington state
      4. Schools for education-related transportation needs
      5. Apple Health for transportation related to accessing Medicaid eligible services and treatment. Preapproval is not required for emergency transportation such as ambulances.
    2. Authorize:
      1. Related travel for the child or their parents, relatives, prospective permanent placements, and licensed or unlicensed caregivers when they fall within the policy purpose.
      2. Reimbursement of transportation expenses when the service is consistent with the case plan, supports a permanent plan, or directly prevents out-of-home placement, and is not payable from another source.
    3. Receive approval for client travel as specified on the Travel Approval Quick Reference Guide.
  4. In order to provide caregiver reimbursement, the caseworker must:
    1. Obtain prior approval from the area administrator for exceptions to mileage reimbursement only when the purpose of the transportation is to meet the individual safety and stability needs of a child.
    2. Reimburse licensed and unlicensed caregivers for transportation necessary to meet the needs of the child as identified in the current case plan, service plan or case notes or for other child-related transportation for state business when other resources are not available.
      1. Caregiver mileage reimbursement requests must be submitted on the Caregiver Monthly Mileage form 07-090.
      2. Reimbursement may include but is not limited to the following activities:
        1. Family Time
        2. Visits with siblings
        3. Court hearings
        4. Court-ordered activities and services
        5. Medical, dental, counseling sessions or Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) appointments
        6. Attendance at child specific meetings and at the request of CA staff
        7. Child-specific state approved caregiver trainings:
          1. Trainings specific to the needs of the children in the home, and
          2. First aid and HIV/Blood Borne Pathogens training.
        8. Transportation to and from the family time, sibling visits, or appointments
        9. Transportation to and from child care, for mileage in excess of the caregiver's regular commute to work
        10. Transportation to and from respite, for mileage in excess of ten miles each way
        11. Transportation by a respite provider to maintain continuity for the child's education or child care
        12. Transportation to maintain educational stability or participation in school-related extracurricular activities
        13. Other transportation necessary to meet the needs of the child identified in the case plan
      3. Review and verify the caregiver's explanation and purpose for each trip by completing the following steps:
        1. Review the date of submission. Mileage submitted 90 days or more after the trip cannot be reimbursed.
        2. Document in the “office use only” box, the appropriate number that matches the explanation the caregiver documented on the mileage form.
        3. Approve and sign the Caregiver Monthly Mileage form 07-090
        4. Submit the approved Caregiver Monthly Mileage form 078-090 to the regional business office per local instructions
      4. Contact the caregiver by email or phone and discuss reasons for denying any of the reimbursement request.
      5. Obtain prior payment approvals as specified:
        1. Transportation reimbursement requests up to $300.00 require caseworker and supervisor approval
        2. Transportation reimbursement requests $301.00 to $500.00 also require area administrator approval
        3. Transportation reimbursement requests of over $500.00 also require regional business manager approval
      6. Send the approved Caregiver Monthly Mileage form 07-090 to the regional fiduciary specialist for payment.
        Travel is not reimbursed for activities that are part of typical parenting or age or developmentally appropriate activities. These activities include:
        1. Haircuts
        2. Sports events
        3. Vacation
        4. Birthday parties
        5. School 
        6. Recreational activities, practices or lessons
        7. Shopping

Forms

Caregiver Monthly Mileage form 07-090

Resources

Travel Approval Quick Reference Guide