Child Welfare QA

  • Permanency

    DCYF works to achieve permanency for children as quickly and safely as possible. The goal is to reunify children with their families when parents demonstrate that they are able to safely care for their children. When children cannot be safely reunified, DCYF makes efforts to achieve permanency through adoption and guardianship as quickly as possible. Of children who were removed from their parents in state fiscal year 2022, over 40 percent were able to achieve permanency within 12 months of their placement out of their parent’s home; the federal target is 37.9 percent or more. Over 96 percent of the children achieving permanency within 12 months were reunified with their families.

    Children Placed in Safe and Permanent Homes Within 12 Months of Entering Care, SFY 2010-2022
  • Placement Stability

    It is important that children who are removed from their homes experience stability while they are in out-of-home care. To monitor the stability of children in out-of-home placement, DCYF monitors the number of placement moves per 1,000 days in out-of-home care for children and youth entering care during a 12-month cohort period (federal measure) and during the first 90 days (state measure). The federal target is 3.98 moves or fewer; in state fiscal year 2023, Washington had an overall rate of 5.20 on this measure, 1.22 percentage points higher than the federal target. Disaggregation by placement setting however, shows that the kinship care stability rate meets the federal target, while rate for non-kin foster care does not. The state measure of stability is typically greater than the federal measure because a high proportion of the moves that children and youth experience occur in the first 90 days.

    Rate of Placement Moves per 1,000 Days in Care, Federal and State Stability Measures, SFY 2010-2023
    Federal Stability Measure: Rate of Placement Moves per 1,000 Days in Care, by Placement Setting, SFY 2010-2023
  • Timely CPS Response

    When a child or group of children meets the legal criteria for an emergent response or is determined to be at "imminent risk" of harm, a worker must initiate a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation and make face-to-face contact with the child within 24 hours of receipt of the report. During state fiscal year 2023, 81.3 percent of children in emergent reports were seen within 24 hours.

    A Child Protective Services (CPS) report meeting the criteria for a non-emergent response requires workers to initiate a CPS investigation or a CPS Family Assessment Response (FAR) and make face-to-face contact with the child within 72 hours of receipt of the report. During state fiscal year 2022, 89.4 percent of children in non-emergent reports were seen within 72 hours.

    Children in Emergent Reports Seen within 24 Hours, SFY 2010-2023
    Children in Non-Emergent Reports Seen within 72 Hours, SFY 2010-2023
  • Re-Abuse

    A child experiences re-abuse or recurrence when they have experienced a founded allegation of abuse or neglect within 12 months of a previous finding of abuse or neglect. An allegation is founded if the worker concluded that the maltreatment likely occurred. For reports with multiple allegations, the report is considered founded if any of the allegations are founded. State fiscal year reflects the year of the first founded allegation and we must wait 12 months to determine if there was a new founded allegation. In state fiscal year 2021 the rate of recurrence was 8.6 percent, 2.6 percentage points above the federal performance target of 6.0 percent.

    Recurrence of Maltreatment, SFY 2010-2021
  • Maltreatment in Care

    DCYF works to ensure the safety of children who are in the placement and care authority of DCYF, including children who are placed in licensed care, those placed with unlicensed kin, and those placed with their parents on a trial return home. We measure the number of founded reports of maltreatment for the total number of days children were in DCYF placement and care authority and display this as the rate of maltreatment per 100,000 care-days. In state fiscal year 2022, the rate was 7.9; the federal target is 6.8 or less.

    DCYF attempts to place children and youth with relatives whenever it is safe and possible. To balance these efforts, we are monitoring the rates of maltreatment by placement setting. In most years, rates of maltreatment are lower in kinship care than in foster care.

    Rate of Victimization of Children in Out-of-Home Care, per 100,000 Days in Care, SFY 2010-2022
    Rate of Victimization of Children in Out-of-Home Care, per 100,000 Days in Care, by Placement Setting, SFY 2010-2022
  • Foster Home Monitoring

    Washington state law requires DCYF to monitor a random sample of no less than 10 percent of the total number of DCYF licensed family foster homes by July 1 of each year and to report the results annually (RCW 74.13.260; RCW 74.13.031(6)). In state fiscal year 2023, 12.1 percent of licensed homes received a random health and safety visit.

    Licensed Foster Homes Monitored Annually, SFY 2013-2023
  • Children Seen Monthly

    When a child is placed in agency custody, DCYF strives to see the child at least once during each calendar month. During state fiscal year 2023, 96.5 percent of children in out-of-home placement received a visit from their worker each month, which is 1.5 percentage points higher than the federal performance target of 95 percent

    Children in Placement Who Receive a Monthly Health and Safety Visit, SFY 2010-2023
  • Race/Ethnicity of Children and Youth in Out-of-Home Care

    Since 2016, the proportion of White children and youth in out-of-home care has decreased by four percentage points, and the proportion of American Indian/Alaska Native children and youth has increased by four percentage points. The proportions of other racial/ethnic groups have varied by one or two percentage points annually.

    Children in Care by Race/Ethnicity, Last Day of SFY 2016-2023
  • Relative Placement

    On the last day of the state fiscal year, 2023, there were 5,969 children in out-of-home care. Washington has one of the highest kinship care placement rates among all states in the nation. On the last day of the state fiscal year, 2023, 55.9 percent of all children and youth under 18 in out-of-home care were placed with kin or relatives.

    Children Placed with Relatives, Last Day of SFY 2016-2023
    Percent of Racial/Ethnic Group Placed with Relatives, Last Day of SFY 2016-2023