Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary
Original Date: July 1, 1997
Revised Date: Oct 31, 2017
Policy Review: Oct 31, 2020
The Children's Administration (CA) must refer to the Division of Child Support (DCS) foster care cases in which sufficient good cause exists to not pursue collection or establish support or paternity.
“Good Cause (GC)” An individual is approved for non-cooperation with DCS requirements when the individual is unable to participate for various reasons as outlined by DCS. The individual must claim and CA must determine good cause.
This policy applies to CA staff.
RCW 13.34.270 Child with developmental disability - Out-of-home placement - Permanency planning hearing.
RCW 74.13.020 Definitions.
RCW 74.13.031 Duties of department - Child welfare services - Children's services - advisory committee.
RCW 74.13.350 Children with developmental disabilities - Out-of-home placement - Voluntary placement agreement.
RCW 74.20.040 Duty of department to enforce child support - Requests for support enforcement services - Schedule of fees - Waiver - Rules.
- CA must use the following criteria, as defined in WAC 388-25-0227, to determine whether sufficient good cause exists for requesting that DCS not pursue collection or establish child support or paternity on foster care cases:
- When pursuing child support is not in the best interest of the child or the circumstances of the family and may result in an increased risk of physical, sexual or emotional harm.
- Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) has discharged the child who has served time for an offense against a family member living in the home and is being placed directly into foster care to protect that family member.
- Adoption proceedings for the child are pending in court or a public or private agency is assisting the custodial parent to decide if the child will be placed for adoption.
- The child's birth is a result of incest or rape and establishing paternity would not be in the child's best interest.
- The custodial parent or the child may be placed in danger of domestic abuse, perpetrated by the other parent or responsible person.
- During a dependency proceeding, the Juvenile or Tribal Court finds the parents will be unable to comply with agreed reunification plans because paying support creates a financial hardship. CA will forward a copy of this court order to DCS.
- The caseworker determines that paying DCS foster care support causes undue financial hardship that will delay or prevent family reunification. The basis for this determination must be documented in the child's case file.
- Additionally, good cause can be granted under WAC 388-27-0265, when a child is in the Adoption Support Program:
- If a child is on active status with Washington State's adoption support program and the department places the child in foster care, group care, or residential treatment, the department may report to DCS that good cause exists for not pursuing collection of support payments.
- The department must review the adoption support agreement and must discontinue any cash payments to the adoptive parent during the child's out-of-home placement unless the adoptive parent(s) documents continuing expenses directly related to the child's needs.
- The Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) caseworker must notify the IV-E specialist of the need for a good cause determination upon discovering a possible good cause situation.
- The DCFS caseworker and IV-E specialist must determine if the case meets the criteria for good cause.
- The IV-E specialist must notify the regional federal funding program manager (FFPM) of their recommendation and request approval.
- The regional FFPM must review the information and recommendation from the DCFS caseworker and IV-E specialist to verify the case is appropriate for a good cause determination and will make the final decision.
- After affirming their decision with the caseworker and IV-E specialist, the regional FFPM must notify the DCS Foster Care Coordinator via email of the determination approving or denying the claim. The email must explain:
- Which parent(s) the decision applies to.
- The reason for the approval or denial.
- That the good cause determination applies only to the out-of-home episode for which it was requested.