2310. Child Protective Services (CPS) Initial Face-To-Face (IFF) Response

Original Date:  September 27, 1995

Revised Date: July 25, 2021

Sunset Review Date: July 25, 2025

Approved by: Jody Becker, Deputy Secretary


Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide direction when making initial face-to-face (IFF) contact with victims or identified children and youth for child protective services (CPS) cases.

Scope

This policy applies to Child Welfare (CW) and Licensing Division (LD) CPS employees

Laws

RCW 26.44.020  Definitions

RCW 26.44.030  Reports-Duty and authority to make-Duty of receiving agency-Duty toNotify-Case planning and consultation-Penalty for unauthorized exchange of information-Filing dependency petitions-Investigations-Interviews of children Records-Risk assessment process

RCW 74.13.031  Duties of the department-Child welfare services-Children’s services advisory committee

Policy

Caseworkers, after-hours workers, and LD CPS investigators must:

  1. Meet in-person with the victims or identified children or youth within the following timeframes once DCYF receives the intake:
    1. Twenty-four hours for emergent responses.
    2. Seventy-two hours for non-emergent responses.
  2. Follow the Indian Child Welfare 1. ICW Procedures at initial contact policy, when there is reason to believe children or youth are or may be a member of or are the biological child of a member and eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe.

Procedures

  1. Required Efforts to Conduct the IFF
    1. Caseworkers must:
      1. Within 24-hours or 72-hours of receiving the intake, at a minimum, complete one of the following, unless upon discussion with the supervisor it is determined attempts to locate the victims or identified children or youth is not in the best interest of their safety:
        1. Make two physical attempts to complete in-person contact with the victims or identified children or youth in a location where it is reasonable to expect they will be located.
        2. Complete all of the following:
          1. One physical attempt to complete the in-person contact with the victims or identified children or youth within the response time at a location where it is reasonable to expect the victims or identified children or youth to be found.
          2. One collateral contact with a minimum of one individual who may have knowledge of the family or current location of the victims or identified children or youth in an effort to determine their location and make in-person contact within the timeframes. If a collateral contact is unable to be located discuss next steps with the supervisor. 
          3. A second physical attempt when the first in-person attempt was not successful and the location is known or new information is obtained. If a new location is identified for the child or youth that is not in close proximity to the location of the initial attempt, attempts to coordinate initial contact must occur by the end of the day.
      2. Discuss with their supervisor if it’s determined the IFF may not be achieved within the timeframes and if an extension or exception is needed, due to the following:
        1. The victims or identified children or youth have not been located after two attempts and if additional attempts need to be made within the timeframes.
        2. There are other requests to delay contact, e.g. Law Enforcement (LE) requests to delay.
    2. LD CPS investigators must complete the following for victims or identified children or youth:
      1. Determine their legal status.
      2. Verify whether they are:
        1. In the placement care and authority (PCA) of DCYF. If they are, continue with the IFF procedures within the timeframes designated in section b.ii.
        2. A biological or adoptive child of an individual who is not named as a subject of the intake. If they are, obtain parental permission prior to contacting the victim, unless the victims or identified children or youth are determined to be at imminent risk of harm.
      3. Within 24-hours or 72-hours of being assigned an intake, at a minimum, complete all of the following:
        1. One physical attempt to complete the in-person contact with the victims or identified children or youth within the response time at a location where it is reasonable to expect the victims or identified children or youth to be found.
        2. One collateral contact with a minimum of one individual who may have knowledge of the family or current location of the victims or identified children or youth in an effort to determine their location and make contact within the timeframes.
      4. Discuss with their supervisor if the IFF may not be achieved within the timeframes to determine if an extension or exception is needed.
    3. Caseworkers and LD CPS investigators must:
      1. Add any victims who were not initially identified on the original intake when there are no new allegations of child abuse and neglect (CA/N) to the Investigative Assessment or FAR Family Assessment, and complete the IFF: 
        1. Per the original screening decision.
        2. From the date and time additional victims are identified, and within:
          1. Twenty-four hours, for emergent responses.
          2. Seventy-two hours, for non-emergent responses.
      2. Generate a new intake if additional victims are identified with new allegations of CA/N.
      3. Discuss with their supervisor if any worker safety concerns are identified and need to be addressed through assistance from LE or additional supports. 
      4. Continue to attempt to locate the victims or identified children or youth within the required timeframes and complete the following efforts, if:
        1. Caregivers indicate they do not know where the victims or identified children or youth are located and they have not contacted LE to report them as a runaway or missing, caseworkers must make a report to LE.
        2. There is verification from a reputable source that the victims or identified children or youth has moved out-of-state before the IFF is conducted, caseworkers and LD CPS investigators must contact that state’s child welfare agency to report the allegations of CA/N.
        3. The victims or identified children or youth are temporarily out-of-state, contact the child welfare agency of that state to request an IFF. If the state is unresponsive or refuses to complete the IFF and there are safety concerns:
          1. Call LE for a welfare check.
          2. Discuss this with their supervisor and request an extension until the victims or identified children or youth has returned to Washington State.
      5. Not complete IFF contacts out of Washington State.
    4. Caseworkers and LD CPS investigators may refer to the Guidelines for Reasonable Efforts to Locate Children and/or Parents DCYF 02-607 as a resource when victims or identified children or youth cannot be located.
  2. IFF Requirements During After Hours
    1. When emergent intakes require an immediate response during after-hours:
      1. CW after-hours supervisors must:
        1. Contact:
          1. A CW after-hours supervisor or area administrator (AA) and request the after-hours worker to respond if an extension is not recommended by either the CW after-hours supervisor or the LD CPS on-call supervisor.
          2. An on-call LD CPS supervisor to determine if an after-hours response is necessary on an LD CPS intake or whether an extension is appropriate on a LD CPS case.
        2. Make the final decision if there is conflict regarding a screening decision for an after-hours 24-hour emergent intake.
      2. An after-hours supervisor or AA must contact the after-hours worker to:
        1. Attempt to make the IFF.
        2. Address worker safety.
    2. CI supervisors must email emergent intakes to the after-hours supervisor or AA when an emergent intake does not require immediate response by an after-hours worker.
    3. After-hours supervisors must review non-emergent intakes assigned to the straw email box to determine if the IFF initial timeframe will expire before the next calendar day and assess the need to initiate after-hours contact.
    4. When present danger is identified during the IFF by after-hour workers, the following must be completed:
      1. After-hours workers must immediately report to their supervisor present danger has been identified and describe the protective actions taken.
      2. After-hours supervisors or AA’s must:
        1. Review and verbally approve the protective action taken.
        2. Document the protective action and approval in a FamLink case note.
  3. Extensions to the IFF Timeframe
    1. CW supervisors must only enter IFF extensions when any of the following occurs:
      1. The intake was received by an intake caseworker on the last business day of a work week, and was not reviewed by an CI supervisor until the next business day. The field supervisor receiving the screened-in intake may approve a 24-hour extension from the date and time the CI supervisor made the final screening decision.
      2. The safety of the victims or identified children or youth will be compromised if an extension is not granted.
      3. LE is requesting to delay the IFF contact and tells the caseworker they are not to make any contact with the victims or identified children or youth, including a present danger assessment, per the County Child Abuse, Fatality, and Criminal Neglect Investigation Protocols.
      4. When a CPS intake is screened out by an intake supervisor and the assigned field supervisor screens the intake in, the IFF timeframe may be extended with AA approval.
      5. Efforts to locate, as described in Procedures Section 1.a., were made by caseworkers within the 24-hour or 72-hour timeframes. When this occurs, assigned supervisors must:
        1. Review the caseworker’s documented efforts to locate the victims or identified children or youth.
        2. Enter an extension if required efforts to locate the victims or identified children or youth has been made, every:
          1. Twenty-four hours on emergent intakes, until the IFF contact occurs.
          2. Seventy- two hours on non-emergent intakes, until the IFF occurs, excluding weekends and holidays.
        3. Not enter an extension if additional efforts need to be made and discuss with caseworkers what additional efforts are needed.
      6. The victim or identified child or youth is temporarily in another state and that state has refused to complete a courtesy IFF.
    2. When an extension is not entered and continued efforts to locate the victims, identified children or youth are required, caseworkers must continue with same process as described in procedures section 1.a., until the IFF occurs.
    3. CW supervisors must continue to monitor the efforts and add a new extension, if the victims or identified children or youth have not been seen, per the following timeframes, for every:
      1. Twenty-four hours until the IFF occurs for assigned 24-hour time frames.
      2. Seventy-two hours, excluding weekends and holidays, for assigned 72-hour time frames.
    4. LD CPS supervisors must review requests for an extension and only approve extensions when the following occurs:
      1. The safety of the victims or identified children or youth will be compromised if an extension is not granted and the extension is approved by the LD AA.
      2. LE is requesting to delay the IFF contact and tells the investigator they are not to make any contact with the victims or identified children or youth, including a present danger assessment, per the County Child Abuse, Fatality, and Criminal Neglect Investigation Protocols.
      3. An intake screening decision changed from screen-out to screen-in and the timeframe expired.
      4. Victims or identified children or youth are in the care and custody of a non-subject parent or guardian who is protective.
      5. Efforts to locate were made by LD CPS investigators within the 24-hour and 72-hour timeframes. When this occurs, assigned supervisors must:
        1. Review the LD CPS investigator’s efforts to locate the victims or identified children or youth.
        2. Approve the extension, if the required efforts to locate the victims or identified children or youth have been made every:
          1. Twenty-four hours on emergent intakes, until the IFF contact occurs.
          2. Seventy-two hours on non-emergent intakes, until the IFF occurs, excluding weekends and holidays.
        3. Not enter an extension, if additional efforts need to be made and discuss with the LD CPS investigator what additional efforts are needed.
      6. The victims or identified children or youth:
        1. Are temporarily in another state and that state has refused to complete a courtesy IFF.
        2. Have been moved out of state and an IFF is requested from the other state.
        3. Was allegedly abused in a licensed facility that does not provide care during weekends or holidays, and the extension is approved by an LD CPS supervisor.
        4. Is no longer placed in the facility.
      7. LD CPS supervisors must continue to monitor the efforts and add a new extension if the victim or identified child or youth has not been seen every 72 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, for assigned 24 or 72-hour time frames.
  4. Exceptions to the IFF
    If an IFF cannot to be completed, CW or LD CPS supervisors must only use and approve exceptions to IFFs if:
    1. The victim or identified child or youth:
      1. Can’t be located and all reasonable efforts to locate them have been exhausted throughout the life of the case.
      2. Is deceased.
      3. Has moved out-of-state and a new intake has been completed by the receiving state.
    2. The allegation involves a child care facility investigation and the biological parent or guardian will not allow their child or youth to be interviewed.
  5. During IFF Contact with the Victims or Identified Children or Youth
    When completing the IFF with the victims or identified children or youth:
    1. Caseworkers, after-hours workers, or LD CPS investigators must:
      1. Assess for present danger.
      2. Take protective action if present danger is identified.
      3. Address all allegations of CA/N.
      4. Observe and document the physical condition and behaviors of the victim or identified child or youth.
      5. Follow the Photograph Documentation policy when photographing the victim or identified child or youth’s physical conditions or environment to document CA/N.
      6. Follow the Interviewing a Victim or Identified Child policy when conducting comprehensive interviews.
      7. Observe the victims or identified children or youth’s living environment, if possible
    2. Caseworkers and after-hours workers must gather relevant and sufficient information by completing the following:
      1. Safety Assessment, within 30 calendar days from the date of intake.
      2. Structured Decision Making Risk Assessment (SDMRA), the timeframes specified in the SDMRA policy.  
    3. LD CPS investigators must complete a safety assessment and safety plan for biological, adoptive, and guardianship children or youth when there is an identified safety threat.  
  6. After the IFF
    1. Once the IFF has been completed, caseworkers, after-hours workers, and LD CPS investigators must:
      1. Contact intake as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours, if there is a new allegation of CA/N to report, per RCW 26.44.030.
      2. Immediately call 911 to report information to LE about crimes against children or youth, and when they believe the child or youth are in present danger, per the Mandated Reports to Law Enforcement policy.
    2. Once the IFF has been completed, caseworkers and LD CPS investigators must:
      1. Follow the Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) policy.
      2. Complete the Commercially Sexually Exploited Child (CSEC) Screen DCYF 15-476 form, if children or youth are suspected or confirmed to be victims of CSEC. 
  7. Documenting in FamLink 
    1. Caseworkers, after-hours workers, or LD CPS investigators must complete the following within three calendar days:
      1. Document the following information in an IFF case note in FamLink:
        1. All IFF contacts or attempted contacts, including the date and time.
        2. If anyone else was present during the contact.
        3. If present danger was identified and any protective action was taken.
      2. Upload all photographs and audio recordings into FamLink, per the Photograph Documentation and Audio Recording policies.
    2. Supervisors must document the following in the explanation section of the Extension/Exception details box in FamLink for:
      1. Extensions within three calendar days of determining if the extension is approved and include the following:
        1. Rationale for the extension.
        2. Timeframes for the extension, as follows:
          1. Twenty-four hours on emergent intakes, until the IFF contact occurs.
          2. Seventy-two hours on non-emergent intakes, until the IFF occurs, excluding weekends and holidays.
        3. Name of the LE officer and agency, if applicable.
      2. Exceptions within three calendar days of determining if the exception is approved and include the rational for the exception.

Forms

Commercially Sexually Exploited Child (CSEC) Screen DCYF 15-476 (located in the Forms repository on the DCYF intranet)

FAR Family Assessment (FARFA) DCYF 10-474 (located in the Forms repository on the DCYF intranet)

Investigative Assessment (IA) DCYF 09-967 (located in the Forms repository on the DCYF intranet)

Safety Plan DCYF 15-259

Resources

Audio Recording policy

Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) policy

County Child Abuse, Fatality and Criminal Neglect Investigation Protocols, (located on the CA intranet)

Guidelines for Reasonable Efforts to Locate Children and/or Parents DCYF 02-607 (located in the Forms repository on the DCYF intranet)

Indian Child Welfare Policies and Procedures Chapter 1. Initial Intake ICW Procedures at Initial Contact policy

Interviewing a Victim or Identified Child policy

Investigating Abuse and Neglect in State-Regulated Care Handbook (located on the CA intranet)

Mandated Reports to Law Enforcement policy

Photograph Documentation policy

Present Danger policy

Safety Assessment policy

Safety Plan policy

Structured Decision Making Risk Assessment (SDMRA) policy

Tribal Contact and Coordination Guidelines, (located on the CA intranet)