6700. Electronic Communication

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Assistant Secretary

Original Date:      June 7, 2018

Policy Review: June 7, 2021


Electronic messaging systems and the Internet/Intranet are valuable tools for conducting state business and appropriate use must be clearly defined. This policy establishes Children's Administration's (CA) policy regarding the use of electronic messaging systems and the Internet/Intranet.


This policy applies to CA staff, stakeholders, contractors, interns, volunteers, and vendors who have access to department networks or use the department’s electronic messaging systems and/or have Internet/Intranet access.


Directive by the Governor 11-18

RCW 42.52 Ethics in Public Services

RCW 42.56 Public Record Act

RCW 49.60.010 Law Against Discrimination

RCW 42.56.100 Protection of public records – public access

RCW 42.56.420 Security

RCW 42.56.590 Notice of Security Breaches

RCW 13.50 Keeping and Release of Records by Juvenile Justice or Care Agencies


Transitory Records:  Transitory records are used for communication, but not for the documentation of a specific CA transaction, nor essential to the fulfillment of statutory obligations or to the documentation of CA functions. Some examples of transitory information, which can be in any medium (voice mail, fax, email, hard copy, etc.), are routine messages; telephone message notifications; internal meeting notices; routing slips; incoming letters or memoranda of transmittal that add nothing of substance to enclosures; and similar routine information.


  1. Communicating with State Issued Devices
    1. All computer hardware, information technology systems, the Internet/Intranet, email, mobile devices, and all other CA Information Technology resources will be used for official business purposes.
    2. CA staff may not use personally owned devices for business purposes.
    3. CA may monitor the use of computers, the Internet/Intranet, email, mobile devices, and all other information technology resources.
    4. All CA-owned computers and all computers connected to the CA network will use CA approved anti-virus software.
    5. All users of the CA information technology resources must only use the resources within the privileges and permissions granted to them and only for their intended business purposes.
  2. Responsibilities
    1. CA supervisors and managers must:
      1. Ensure all employees with access to the CA electronic messaging systems and Internet/Intranet have been instructed and trained on the appropriate use of state resources.
      2. Ensure that stakeholders, contractors, interns, volunteers, and vendors with access to the department’s electronic messaging systems and/or the Internet/Intranet have been instructed and trained on the appropriate use of state resources.
      3. Obtain a signed Internet Access Request and Agreement form DSHS 03-344. The signed form must be kept in the employee’s local personnel file and reviewed and signed each year.
    2. CA staff must:
      1. Read and sign the Internet Access Request and Agreement form DSHS 03-344, acknowledging that they understand CA’s policy.
      2. Connect a state-issued mobile device to only other state-issued devices.
      3. Use these tools in accordance with Administrative Policy 18.64, Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees.
      4. Use CA provided electronic messaging systems and Internet/Intranet access to conduct business that is related to official state duties, to include electronic recruiting and Employee Self Service.
      5. Consider all call records, text messages, email, documents, data, photos, etc. used to conduct state business on a CA owned computer and mobile device a public record and subject to DSHS Record Retention and Destruction Policy and DSHS Public Records Request Policy.
      6. Safeguard and retain case-related information, and maintain confidentiality per Administrative Policy Chapter 5 DSHS Records and Privacy, Administrative Policy 15-10 DSHS IT Security Policy, and DSHS Confidentiality Policy.
      7. Limit use of text messages transmitted or received for brief exchanges related to state business.
      8. Keep each text message case specific, send separate texts for separate cases.
      9. Use email for case-related information as opposed to a text message.
        1. Refer recipient to separate email with detailed case information by writing “See email” in the body of the text.
      10. Name each text message or email in the subject line by case last name, hyphen, and case number, i.e. Johnson-XXXXX.
      11. Use only CA owned equipment to print or transfer client information or photographs.
      12. Transfer and store any case-related information, including text messages created, sent, received or stored on a mobile device, within seven calendar days to FamLink.
        1. Send a ticket to HELP300@DSHS.WA.GOV and the local IT support staff to back up the messages so they can be uploaded into FamLink.
      13. Only take photographs for evidentiary and case management purposes according to DSHS Photograph Documentation Policy.
      14. Delete all client related information from the mobile device AFTER confirming it has been transferred to FamLink.
      15. Delete all transitory records when no longer needed, unless there is pending litigation concerning the records or a pending public records request for the records.


Internet Access Request and Agreement form DSHS 03-344