2571. Mandated Reports to Law Enforcement

Approval: Jennifer Strus, Assistant Secretary

Original Date:  1972

Revised Date:  July 23, 2017

Policy Review:  July 23, 2020


Provide Children’s Administration (CA) staff direction for notifying law enforcement (LE) about crimes against children and vulnerable adults and alleged abuse of children.


This policy applies to all CA staff.


RCW 13.50.010 Definitions – Conditions when filing petition or information – Duties to maintain accurate records and access – Confidential child welfare records.

RCW 13.50.100 Records not relating to commission of juvenile offenses – Maintenance and access – Release of information for child custody hearings – Disclosure of unfounded allegations prohibited.

RCW 26.44.030 (4) Reports – Duty and authority to make – Duty of receiving agency – Duty to notify.

RCW 74.13.031 (3) Duties of department – Child welfare services

RCW 26.44.190 Investigation of child abuse or neglect – Participation by law enforcement officer


CA staff will:

  1. Notify LE when any of the following apply:
    1. There is a reasonable cause to believe a crime has been committed against a child or vulnerable adult.
    2. There is an allegation of child abuse or neglect (CA/N) including:
      1. Child fatality or near fatality suspected to be caused by CA/N.
      2. Non-accidental physical injury of a child.
      3. Sexual Abuse or sexual exploitation.
      4. A suspicion, indication or confirmation of commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC), and there is reasonable cause to believe a crime against a child has been committed.
    3. A law enforcement officer investigating alleged child abuse or neglect is, or has been, a parent, guardian, or foster parent of an alleged child victim. If the law enforcement agency continues the investigative assignment of an officer who is the current foster parent of the alleged child victim, the CA caseworker must remove the child from placement with the investigating officer.
  2. Notify LE verbally or with a written Child Protective Services (CPS) intake report.
    1. Within 24-hours of receiving:
      1. A CPS intake with an emergent response time and the child is believed to be in danger.
      2. An intake about an indicated or confirmed Commercially Sexually Exploited Child.
    2. Within 72-hours of:
      1. Receiving a CPS intake with a non-emergent response time.
      2. When an investigation or Family Assessment Response (FAR) reveals reasonable cause to believe that a crime against a child may have been committed.
  3. If a verbal report was made, send a copy of the intake to LE within five calendar days of making the verbal report. 
  4. When any child in an open case is believed to be at imminent risk of serious harm or there is a new allegation of child abuse or neglect not included in the original intake, the assigned caseworker must make a report to intake per RCW 26.44.030 (1)(a).
  5. If there is reasonable cause to believe any client has been abandoned, abused, neglected, or exploited, regardless of the source of information, notify his or her supervisor or manager per DSHS Administrative 8.02 policy located on the DSHS intranet.
  6. CA staff may release confidential case information to other juvenile justice or care system agencies only when an investigation or case involving the child in question, is being pursued by the other agency or when that other agency is responsible for supervising the child. This includes entities such as police, prosecuting attorneys, diversion units, detention centers, courts, and schools but does not include a child’s placement, i.e., licensed or unlicensed caregiver.
  7. Document in FamLink on the intake “referral” tab the following information when sending the report to law enforcement:
    1. LE agency name.
    2. Date and time the report was sent.
    3. Method by which the report was sent.
    4. Explanation of the reason the report was sent.


Intake Report DSHS 14-260 located on the Intake and Forms pages on the CA Intranet.


Mandated Reporter Toolkit