6600. Documentation

Approval:  Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary

Original Date: 

Revised Date:  October 19, 2017

Policy Review:  October 19, 2021


Provide direction for documenting case-related events, communications and activities.


This policy applies to CA staff.


RCW 74.14A.20

RCW 74.14A.025

RCW 74.15.020


CA staff must:

  1. Document case or provider-related events, communications and activities in FamLink.
  2. Document events, communications and activities within ten calendar days of the event occurring, unless an exception is granted by the supervisor.  Documentation must be complete and accurate.
  3. Exceptions must be completed and required timeframes met as follows:
    1. One hour of being notified of a critical incident, the regional designee will document the incident in Administrative Incident Response System (AIRS).
    2. Twenty-four hours of being notified of an administrative incident, the supervisor will document the incident in AIRS.
    3. Two business days for a supervisor to review and approve entry of a Safety Plan.
    4. Three calendar days for:
      1. Initial Face-to-Face
      2. Victim or Identified Child Abuse Interview
      3. Monthly Health and Safety Visits
      4. Completed Safety Plan (Using or not using an No Carbon Required (NCR) form.
      5. Termination of payment authorization when services are completed per 5400. Child Care policy.
    5. Five business days from the child’s original placement date (OPD) per 2421. Emergency Planning for Children in Out-of-Home Care.
    6. Seven calendar days for:
      1. Current photograph, height and weight information for a child entering out-of-home care per the 2421. Emergency Planning for Children in Out-of-Home Care policy. 
      2. Shared Planning Meetings
    7. Fifteen calendar days for near verbatim documentation of a child’s physical or sexual abuse interview.
    8. Thirty calendar days for:
      1. Completing the Safety Assessment (Using or not using an NCR form.
      2. A supervisor review of a Safety Plan during their monthly supervisory review.
      3. Sending the Relative Notification Letter DSHS 15-330 to all relatives identified on the Relative Search Tracking Form DSHS 10-544 from the child’s OPD.
    9. Forty-five calendar days for:
      1. The Initial Comprehensive Family Evaluation of a Family Voluntary Services (FVS) or Child and Family Welfare Services (CFWS) case assignment and approval. See 1140. Family Assessment/Assessment of Progress policy.
      2. All Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) documentation and closing a case beginning from the decision to terminate services.
    10. Sixty calendar days for completing:
      1. The Investigation Assessment.
      2. The Structured Decision Making Risk Assessment.
      3. All DCFS documentation and closing a case beginning from the decision to close the case.
    11. Ninety calendar days from the date of the intake for the Family Assessment Response Family Assessment.
  4. Retain all handwritten notes until the information has been entered in FamLink. Once information has been stored in FamLink, immediately destroy handwritten notes.
  5. Include the following information in FamLink case note documentation:
    1. Who was present, identifying them by their full name and role. 
    2. What occurred.
    3. When (date and time) the event occurred.
    4. Where the event occurred.
    5. Why (purpose)
    6. How: A description of the caseworker’s assessment of the event or contact including supporting facts or evidence.
  6. When communicating with the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) or assigned attorney for your office:
    1. Record all AAG information in FamLink as AAG activity type.
    2. Store all hard copies of AAG information in the "Privileged Communication with AAG" or confidential section of the hard case file, if applicable.
  7. Confidential Documentation
    1. Follow the Domestic Violence (DV) policy when documenting safety planning information for a:
      1. DV victim
      2. Witness to a crime, or
      3. DV victim’s child
    2. Follow Case Services 4120. Confidentiality policy when documenting mental health and medical, including blood-borne pathogen information about a parent or child.
    3. Safeguard, and retain case and provider-related information per Case Services 4120. Confidentiality policy.
  8. Follow Intake Process and Response policy for documentation timeframes.
  9. Follow the Mobile Technology policy and DSHS Administrative Policies No. 15.15 Use of Electronic Messaging and the Internet and No. 18.64 Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees when communicating by email or text.
  10. Follow Photograph Documentation policy when taking photographs in the course of a CPS investigation.
  11. Follow Audio Recording policy when audio recording for child physical or sexual abuse interviews, or if retaining a voicemail from a parent or caregiver for evidentiary purposes.
  12. If there is an error or more information needs to be added to incomplete documentation in FamLink; correct or add to the information. If the documentation is finalized and requires the assistance of HELP300@dshs.wa.gov to correct, create a case or provider note that describes the following:
    1. What was corrected.
    2. Correction date.
    3. Reasons for the correction.


FamLink User Manuals located on the CA intranet