Certificate of Parental Improvement (CPI)

What is a CPI?

A Certificate of Parental Improvement (CPI) removes a barrier for individuals with a founded finding of child abuse or neglect made by DCYF or a Washington state court under RCW 13.34.030(6)(b) when they apply to work in an assisted living facility or nursing home, provide long-term care services, or seek unsupervised access under a DCYF program.

DCYF will review the underlying documentation the court or DCYF relied upon to make the finding of child abuse or neglect. DCYF will consider the length of time that has elapsed since the finding, personal and professional references submitted by the individual who can attest to the individual’s current character, and information indicating whether the individual successfully addressed the circumstances that led to the finding of abuse or neglect.

DCYF will complete an assessment of the individual’s character, suitability and competence as it now relates to the finding of child abuse or neglect and issue a Certificate of Parental Improvement if, on a more probable basis than not, the individual successfully rectified the circumstances that led to the finding of abuse or neglect.

DCYF must accept this certificate when assessing your character, suitability and competence to have unsupervised access to children or youth under RCW 74.13.700 and cannot disqualify you solely based on the above finding. 

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) must also accept this certificate when assessing your character, suitability and competence to work in assisted living facilities under RCW 18.20.126, nursing facilities under RCW 18.51.570, or provide long-term care services under RCW 74.39A.056  and cannot disqualify you solely based on the above finding. 

This certificate does not change or remove the outcome of the CPS investigation, and authorized entities will continue to receive notification of your finding of child abuse or neglect in subsequent background checks or inquiries.

How to Request a CPI

Online

Phone

  • Complete the online background check and obtain the online confirmation code.
  • Call 1-800-998-3898, option 8 and provide your name, date of birth, telephone number, and background check online confirmation code if completed online.

  If you are Limited English Proficiency and unable to complete the CPI request form and the online background check, complete the Background Check Authorization DSHS 09-653 form in the language of your choice, then:

  • Mail the form to:
    CPI
    PO Box 40993
    Olympia, WA 98504

Someone will contact you to complete the CPI request process.

Frequently Asked Questions

RCW 74.13.720(4) outlines the CPI eligibility criteria. You are not be eligible for a CPI if any of the following apply:

  • It has been fewer than five years since you had a founded finding of child abuse or neglect.
  • DCYF denied issuing you a CPI in the last two years.
  • You were the subject of a founded finding of child abuse or neglect after receiving a CPI.
  • You have a founded finding for sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or physical abuse that involved cutting, burning, interfering with a child’s breathing, shaking a child under age 3, or threatening a child with a deadly weapon.
  • You have a conviction or pending criminal investigation, or any out-of-state, federal or state conviction for a felony offense that is comparable to:
    • Any felony offense involving the physical neglect of a child under Chapter 9A.42 RCW
    • Any felony offense under Chapter 9A.32 RCW or Chapter 9A.36 RCW involving a physical injury or death of a child
    • Any felony domestic violence offense committed against a family or household member as defined in Chapter 10.99 RCW
    • A felony offense against a child under Chapter 9.68A RCW
    • Any of the following felony offenses:
      • Any felony defined under any law as a class A felony or an attempt to commit a class A felony
      • Criminal solicitation of or criminal conspiracy to commit a class A felony
      • Manslaughter in the first or second degree
      • Indecent liberties
      • Kidnapping in the second degree
      • Arson in the second degree
      • Extortion in the first degree
      • Robbery in the second degree
      • Drive-by shooting
      • Vehicular homicide

Please contact DCYF at dcyf.cpi@dcyf.wa.gov or 1-800-998-3898, option 8, if you are unsure about your eligibility or have questions.

DCYF must consider the following when assessing if the individual has the character, suitability, and competence to care for children, youth or vulnerable persons:

  1. Underlying documentation DCYF or the court relied upon to make that finding.
  2. Findings from any civil adjudication proceeding as defined in RCW 43.43.830.
  3. Referral history alleging child abuse or neglect against the individual.
  4. Length of time since the founded finding of child abuse or neglect.
  5. Whether a court made a finding that the individual's child was dependent.
  6. Length of time since that dependency proceeding was dismissed and its outcome, including whether the child was returned to the individual’s home.
  7. Documentation submitted by the individual indicating whether the individual successfully addressed the circumstances that led to the finding.
  8. Any pending criminal or civil actions against the individual.
  9. Information revealed in the background check when determining eligibility.
  10. Personal and professional references submitted by the individual.
  11. Any education, volunteer work, employment history, or community involvement.
  12. Any additional information deemed relevant.

DCYF must accept this certificate when assessing your character, suitability and competence to have unsupervised access to children or youth under RCW 74.13.700 and cannot disqualify you solely based on the founded finding of child abuse or neglect addressed in the CPI.

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) must also accept this certificate when assessing your character, suitability and competence to work in assisted living facilities under RCW 18.20.126, nursing facilities under RCW 18.51.570, or provide long-term care services under RCW 74.39A.056 and cannot disqualify you solely based on the founded finding of child abuse or neglect addressed in the CPI.

Yes, you have a right to know the reasons DCYF denied to grant you a CPI and you may request that DCYF reconsider its decision in writing. You may also appeal DCYF’s decision to deny you a CPI if DCYF does not reconsider to grant you a CPI. Instructions about how to request these appeals are included in the letters sent to you following each decision.

DCYF must decide whether to grant you a CPI or not within 60 days after it receives a completed CPI request.

You should complete or be prepared to submit the following to avoid delays with the CPI process:

  • Complete the Request for Certificate of Parental Improvement form online or submit the form if not done online.
  • Complete the Background Check Authorization form online or submit the form if not done online.
  • Gather documentation or references that will assist DCYF to determine you have rectified the circumstances addressed in the founded finding of child abuse or neglect that may include:
    • Assessments or evaluations related to the finding
    • Completion or progress toward completion of recommended court-ordered treatment, services, or programs
    • Personal and professional references from employers, professionals, and agencies familiar with your current character
    • Any education, volunteer work, employment history, or community involvement
    • Other information that indicates changed behavior or rehabilitation specific to the finding of child abuse or neglect
  • Participate in an interview with the assigned DCYF Suitability Assessment Specialist