6001. Case Assignment

Approval:  Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary

Original Date: 

Revised Date:  July 1, 2018

Policy Review:  July 1, 2021


To provide direction for Children’s Administration (CA) staff in making a case assignment. Case assignment is prioritized based on the child’s safety, well-being and permanency needs.


This policy applies to CA staff.


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.


  1. Primary intake case assignment belongs to the CA office where:
    1. The parent or legal guardian of the victim or identified child resides, e.g. the residential address as provided to the school, medical provider or for public benefits, etc.
    2. The child resides and the parent’s whereabouts are unknown.
    3. The facility address where the child is located, e.g. childcare, foster home, state-regulated facility, etc.
  2. If the risk only intake is screened in on an open case and the parent, legal guardian, or unlicensed kinship caregiver caring for the identified child lives in another office catchment area, the intake is assigned to that office.
  3. If a victim or identified child is in need of emergent response in a county where the parent does not reside, the office in the county where the child is located will:
    1. Conduct an initial face-to-face contact.
    2. Assess for present danger and take protective action if present danger exists.
    3. Arrange temporary placement if needed.
    4. Attempt to contact the tribe if there is reason to know the child is an Indian child.
    5. Access medical or mental health treatment if needed. 
  4. Extended Foster Care (EFC) Program
    1. When a youth requests to participate in EFC starting on his or her 18th birthday, assign the case to the office where the case is currently assigned.
    2. When a youth requests to re-enter care to participate in EFC, assign the case to where the youth is currently residing.
  5. Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
    1. When the Headquarters ICPC unit requests a case be created for an incoming ICPC request, the case is opened and assigned to the home study straw.
    2. Intakes with new allegations of child abuse or neglect will be screened per the Intake policy.
  6. When requesting a transfer of case assignment for a non-court involved case, follow the 4122.Case Transfer policy.
  7. When requesting a transfer of case assignment for a court-involved case, follow policy 4431. Legal Jurisdiction and 4122.Case Transfer policy.
  8. Disagreement about primary case assignment must be resolved at the lowest level possible. If a disagreement remains unresolved, the supervisors must work with the area administrators or their chain of command to resolve it.
  9. When any child in an open case is believed to be at imminent risk of serious harm or there is a new allegation of child abuse or neglect, the assigned caseworker must make a report to intake per RCW 26.44.030 (1)(a).