This section addresses maintenance of accurate records, personal privacy, and disclosure and nondisclosure of CA records, including licensing records.
These topics are inter-related, with accuracy of information being a significant element.
- Information in social service records must be complete and accurate, to the best ability of assigned social work or other staff, and is shared only with authorized representatives of public or private agencies having a legitimate need to be informed concerning clients whom they are actively serving.
- The Regional Administrator is responsible, in their respective areas, for the integrity of data in electronic and paper files.
- The Public Records Act, chapter 42.56 RCW, governs access to and disclosure of public records. CA is required to make identifiable public records promptly available for inspection and copying upon request by any person, unless nondisclosure is required or authorized by law.
- Administrative Policy 5.02 governs all DSHS responses to Public Records Act requests. All CA staff must follow Administrative Policy 5.02. The CA Operations Manual is intended to supplement this policy with additional internal operation procedures.
- All CA Public Disclosure Coordinator must follow Administrative Policy 5.02, Public Records Requests. If Administrative Policy 5.02 and the CA Operations Manual contradict one another, the Public Disclosure Coordinator must follow Administrative Policy 5.02.
- The Public Disclosure Manager, in the Finance and Operations Support Division (FOSD) is the designated Public Disclosure Officer for Children's Administration. The Public Disclosure function for CA is centralized under the Public Disclosure Manager, with regional offices as well as a headquarters unit.
- Regional Public Disclosure Coordinators will respond to routine public disclosure requests. However, regional Public Disclosure Coordinators must not respond to the following requests and must immediately route such requests to a headquarters Public Disclosure Coordinator for response.
- Requests for reports collected at the state office; for example, statewide Health and Safety Report, FamLink reports generated at the state office level.
- Requests for information from more than one region where consistency of information is necessary.
- Requests from employees.
- Especially sensitive issues are best handled at Headquarters:
- Requests from the media, including, newspapers, television, and radio;
- Requests from attorneys, which may involve potential lawsuits;
- Requests from legislators;
- Requests involving "hot" cases or those generating controversy in the community; and
- Other cases which may be of a hostile nature or where there is need for headquarters staff and Media Relations to be aware of the request.
- When there is a question about whether the preparation should be done at the regional or headquarters level, the regional Public Disclosure Coordinator will consult with a headquarters Public Disclosure Coordinator. or the Public Disclosure Manager
- Public Disclosure Coordinators must consult with an assigned AAG and/or the DSHS Public Records and Privacy Officer when an issue regarding the release of information is not clear.
- If the person requesting disclosure disagrees with the decision of a Public Disclosure Coordinator, the person may petition for review of the decision denying disclosure.
- If the petition is for the review of a decision made by a regional Public Disclosure Coordinator, it must be sent to a headquarters Public Disclosure Coordinator for review.
- If the petition is for the review of a decision made by a CA headquarters Public Disclosure Coordinator, it must be sent to the Public Disclosure Manager or their designee for review.
CA staff must comply with the provisions of WAC Chapter 388-01 and DSHS Administrative Policy No. 5.02 - Public Records Requests. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- A public records request may be made to any staff and does not need to be made in writing or on a specific form. If a CA staff receives a public records request, or believes they may have received a public records request, they must forward that request immediately to a CA Public Disclosure Coordinator. Not doing so may result in fines to the agency under the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56.
- When a Public Disclosure Coordinator requests records staff are required to provide all records, whether disclosable or not, to the Public Disclosure Coordinator. It is the responsibility of the Public Disclosure Coordinator to determine what may be disclosed.
- Failure to provide all responsive records may result in fines to the agency under the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56.
- If a public records request is made at a time when such record exists but is scheduled for destruction, the department must retain possession of the record and may not destroy or erase the record until the request is resolved. WAC 388-01-060; RCW 42.56.100.
When a representative designated by a client requests the client's record, the request must be accompanied by a written release signed by the client. The representative may be an attorney, legal guardian or lay representative. The written release must include the following:
- The identity of the person(s) or organization(s) to whom disclosure is to be made;
- An identification of the record, or portion thereof, to be disclosed; and
- A statement of when the authorization for disclosure expires.
- For purposes directly related to the administration of department programs, information shall be disclosed between offices of the department, unless prohibited by 45 CFR 205.50 or other law.
- For purposes directly connected with the administration of department programs, information may be disclosed by the department to outside agencies, unless disclosure is prohibited by law. Agencies or individuals receiving such information are subject to the same standards of disclosure as are required of the department.
- To the extent not otherwise prohibited or authorized by law, inquiries from agencies outside the department will be honored only if written and only if the client's authorization is included in the request. WAC 388-01-070
- Two new forms have been developed to allow the sharing of confidential client information within and outside DSHS: the "Consent" to exchange confidential information (DSHS 14-012 Rev. 2/2003) and the "Authorization" to disclose records (DSHS 17-063 Rev. 2/2003). Children's Administration (CA) will use these forms and not require any additional forms.
- These forms meet the legal requirements applying to use of confidential client information for all agency programs.
- These forms were developed to meet the various federal and state statutory and regulatory requirements on a Department-wide basis, as confirmed by the review of program Assistant Attorney Generals (AAG).
- The two forms provide uniformity and are valid Department-wide. CA will use the forms in place of any existing forms. Staff are to accept these forms as valid and not ask a client to complete a different DSHS form if one of these two has been properly executed.
- The Consent Form 14-012 allows programs to share information about mutual clients to coordinate service delivery.
- The Authorization Form 17-063 permits DSHS to release client records and information to a third party, including an attorney, legislator, or relative.
- All staff shall make the conversion and begin using these forms as they are the best available to meet current confidentiality restrictions across DSHS.
- Both are available electronically by scrolling down to and clicking on the form numbers at http://www.dshs.wa.gov/msa/forms/eforms.html
- The social worker provides, subject to the constraints outlined above, a copy of all case file information, relevant to a court proceeding, to a child's parent(s), guardian, legal custodian, or legal counsel. Information which the department reasonably expects to introduce to support the petition is considered relevant. The social worker will provide a copy, free of charge, within 20 days of a written request or prior to the Shelter Care Hearing, whichever is sooner.
- Clients with proper identification have the right to look at their records if they request to do so. They also may challenge the accuracy, completeness, or relevance of statements. Sources of CPS complaints remain anonymous, and their names must be purged from the record prior to the client's review.
- The social worker offers language interpreter services to clients who are unable to read the case record information.
- All material presented at a dispute hearing is open to examination of the client and his/her representatives, even though such material would ordinarily be considered confidential.
- Staff subpoenaed to appear in court shall not take the social service record unless it is also subpoenaed, at which point the social worker consults with the assigned Assistant Attorney General.
- No individual shall make available outside the department a partial or complete list of service recipient names or address. Social Service Payment System (SSPS) reports containing client identifiers are confidential.
- For adoption records, after the petition for adoption is filed, information, except medical reports, in the child's record may be released only by written order of a Superior Court.
- With respect to the service records of children and youth who are under the jurisdiction of the court, the requirements outlined in the Case Services Policy Manual, Chapter 2000, section 2150, are to be followed. RCW 13.50.100
- If a juvenile, his/her parents, or their attorney makes a written request asking the department about the existence and content of custody, or care records, the Area Manager completes the following steps.
- Makes written response to the inquiry within 10 working days after its receipt. The department provides to the juvenile, the parents, or attorney making the inquiry information regarding the location, nature, and content of any records in the department's possession. A juvenile, the parents, or the attorney, wishing to challenge the information contained in the department records, must notify the department in writing, providing:
- The name of the juvenile.
- A statement of those portions of the record alleged to be inaccurate.
- If retention of the record is being challenged, a statement as to why the record should be destroyed.
- Reviews the notification of challenge and responds in writing within 30 calendar days. The response will indicate the corrections which have been or will be made or shall state the basis for denial of any requested corrections. If appropriate, the response will also include a statement indicating whether the records have been destroyed or transferred to another juvenile justice or child care agency.
- Notifies the juvenile, the parents, or their attorney that, if they dispute the department's response, they may seek an administrative review of the decision as provided in the Administrative Procedure Act.
- CA staff removing records to an alternative work site must maintain security and confidentiality of information contained in records. To maintain security and confidentiality, information contained in CAMIS will be printed only at department work sites.
- The following records are disclosable only to the client (the child's parent or legal designee, child or custodian-parent of a child under 18, legal representative of a child).
- The CPS record, except that the name and other identifiers of the referrer of alleged CA/N may be removed prior to disclosure.
- CWS or FRS records.
- Juvenile court records or juvenile court documents contained in DCFS files. RCW 13.50.100
- When a non-custodial parent requests information from a child or family record, the public disclosure coordinator consults with the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) prior to releasing the information to determine criteria for release.
- The information in paragraph A above may be shared with other public agencies subject to the same rules of confidentiality as CA. For example, information from a CPS or CWS record may be provided to a contractor who is providing counseling or evaluation of a child/ family or shared with Child Protection Teams (CPT) or Local Indian Child Welfare Advisory Committees (LICWAC).
- Unless non-disclosure of particular information is required or authorized by law, licensing record information must be disclosed upon request. Most information contained in licensing records is disclosable. However, licensing records frequently contain information that is confidential or exempt from disclosure requirements.
- The public disclosure coordinator or other designated staff will review requested licensing records and identify non-disclosable information in accordance with these guidelines. Staff will redact (remove) non-disclosable information from the record. The public disclosure coordinator will make remaining disclosable information available to the requester for inspection and copying or provide a copy to the requester.
- Whenever disclosure of information is denied, the public disclosure coordinator will provide a written explanation to the requester, identifying the information for which disclosure is denied and the specific statutory basis for the denial.
- Personal Information in Licensing Files-The release of personal and private information is a sensitive issue, and decisions about releasing too much or too little information are difficult. When a question regarding the release of personal and private information arises, the coordinator needs to consult with the assigned AAG.
- Personal and Private Information-The following table provides examples of personal and private information that CA has released and examples of such information that the agency has declined to release.
||Information Not Released
|Generalized answers about the applicant's background
||Fact that a foster mother had been raped and received extensive counseling
|Experiences with raising children
||Sexual orientation of applicant when of no concern to public
|Description of foster parent relationships, marital relationships, individual strengths, etc.
||Historical family background, such as applicant’s parents’ marital relationship, family conflict issues, etc.
|Statements regarding desire to become licensed providers
||Reports of abuse applicants suffered in the past
|Description of physical home of applicant, medical and other services they utilize for children in their care
||Criminal conviction of applicant’s parents or children unless it directly relates to the application
|Autobiographical information that does not seem private or offensive
||Medical conditions of applicants or their family, such as a child with Down’s Syndrome
|Statements regarding licensees’ willingness to work with parents and agency staff
- Notice of Disclosure
- The public disclosure coordinator provides notice of disclosure to individuals whose licensing files are being released prior to release of the file.
- The coordinator also provides notice to those named in the file who will be significantly impacted by release of the information.
- If a question arises regarding the need to notify an individual, the coordinator consults with the assigned AAG.
- When a request is received for a copy of a police report, the public disclosure coordinator needs to notify the police agency that CA has received a request for a copy of one of their reports in the agency file.
- The police agency must provide specific legal citations, within time-frames that will enable CA to meet legal deadlines for disclosure of information, if it wants CA to withhold the information.
- If disclosure of the information would interfere with an ongoing investigation or legal action (on the part of a prosecutor), CA can withhold the information when it receives such notice from the police or prosecutor in writing.
- Information may be releasable once the investigation is completed.
- The social worker is to make reasonable efforts to review information about CA/N that is reported to DCFS and investigative findings which are challenged by parents or other parties to a case. The social worker:
- Pursues new information or leads which might resolve the conflict.
- Interviews additional persons identified as having relevant and direct knowledge about an incident.
- A parent or other party to a case may provide a written statement about contested information. The social worker files the written statement in the record in a proximate location to the contested information.
- The supervisor may expunge information from a case record when the following apply:
- The information has been found to be untrue in a juvenile court proceeding on the matter; OR
- The Area Manager and the supervisor agree that sufficient information exists to show the case record to be inaccurate; AND
- There is a written request for expungement from the party who is the subject of the erroneous statement.
- The supervisor documents the reasons for removal in the record.
- The supervisor destroys, discards, or deletes removed information from an existing report or document.
An active case, in FamLink, is one in which the division is providing services to the family and/or child. Active cases have a social worker assignment coded to match the definitions for Service Codes contained in this chapter. All required work on a case must be completed prior to case closure.
Case numbers are automatically generated by FamLink during the intake process when a new case is created.
- When any child becomes Legally Free, the child will receive a new case number, generated by FamLink.
- The social worker will deactivate the legally free child's case from the original family case.
- The assigned worker uses the child's legally free case to document all case notes and services provided.
- The worker must not establish a case-to-case relationship between the original family case and the new legally free case.
- The worker must not delete the child's pre-adoptive closed case relationship from the child's original family case file.
- The worker stores all paper documents received or created after the child becomes legally free in a binder using the new case number.
- The following documents from the original family case record must be placed in the legally free child's record (copies of the documents shall remain in the original family binder) (Refer to Operations manual 13410 case file make up):
- Section I - Case Activity includes:
- Comprehensive Family Evaluation
- Complete CPS history (1 print out)
- Summary Assessment
- All Case Notes
- Copies of Evaluations on Birth Parents (i.e. psychological, drug/alcohol, parenting assessments
- Section II - Placement and Legal includes:
- All Legal Documents of the Legally Free Child.
- Section III - Child Health & Safety includes CHET:
- All Health and Education Records of the Legally Free Child.
- Correspondence relating to obtaining medical, educational and mental health information on the legally free child
- Section IV - Family Background includes:
- All Relative Search Documentation & Information
- All Ethnic and Cultural Information
- Section V - Indian Child Welfare includes:
- All Native American Ancestry documentation
- Section VI - Service Reports and Correspondence includes:
- All Staffing Documentation
- Notes from Visitation with Birth Parents and Siblings
- Copies of reports on birth parent evaluations, medical and mental health information
- Documentation on sibling medical and educational information on the legally free child's 13-041
- Section VII - Payment Section
- Section VIII - Other includes:
- Photographs (originals or photocopies)
- Recruitment information
- STD/HIV information
- Birth certificates and social security cards
- Section XI - Audio Recording of CPS Child Interviews
- The worker will update the address of the child to the local DCFS office with responsibility for the child's case. See section 15306.
- The adoption worker creates the adoption case by selecting the Adoption Finalization hyperlink located on the option page of the legally free case. The worker creates the new person record using the child's new name.
- The adoption support worker establishes a new person-to-person relationship in the adoption case and adds the adoptive parents as participants in the case relationship section of the adoptive family's case.
- The legally free case is closed and "restricted" upon entering the dependency dismissal.
- If the adoptive family continues to receive services or later returns for services, the worker creates a new case under the adoptive family name. The new case includes any adopted children.
DCFS Regional Administrators, DLR Administrator, and the DLR Program Manager shall establish procedures for the transfer of case files.
For requirements for courtesy supervision when a child is placed from one CA service area to another, see the CA Practices and Procedures Guide, chapter 4000, section 4430.
- Social Service Files- transfer of active social service cases between regions, the Regional Administrator will establish procedures consistent with the following minimum requirements:
- Before the transfer is made, the transferring social worker reviews the service record for completeness. All documentation and recording must be current.
- The transfer must be made within seven working days after receipt of the request with a notation in the record as to any additional material to be forwarded and the specific date it will be forwarded.
- The receiving supervisor must agree to the transfer before the case is transferred; or
- The responsible Area Managers(s) must agree to the transfer in advance of the transfer.
- If the department purchases a service for the client being transferred and the provider or payee does not change, the transferring worker does not terminate payment on the Change of Service Authorization, DSHS 14-159. Within 15 days, the receiving worker submits a DSHS 14-159 form to change the worker ID and case number and update location and other information that has changed.
- If the provider or payee changes, the transferring social worker terminates payment on the Change of Service Authorization prior to the transfer to the new office. The receiving worker submits a new authorization to update services upon receipt of the record.
- If the client receives no purchased services, the sending social worker terminates any open service authorizations using the Change of Service Authorization.
- Adoption Files-Because the agency file on a child is needed to facilitate an adoption and the adoption worker needs to complete paperwork, CA staff will adhere to the following procedures for transfer of adoptive case files for legally free children who are placed from one CA area to another:
- The child's case file is transferred to the DCFS office/unit where the adoptive family is served. See paragraph h below if the adoptive family is supervised by a private agency. The case number will remain the same as the sending office's case number. Minimum documentation requirements to be included in the file before transfer are:
- A certified copy of the order terminating parental rights (or documentation that it has been requested and will be forwarded upon receipt);
- Complete documentation as to reasonable efforts to obtain information about the child and family medical and social background;
- The DSHS 13-041, signed by the child's social worker and the adoptive parent(s); and
- Completed narrative recording.
- A working file is maintained in the sending office for incidental documents; e.g., copies of the report to the court. Local procedures determine whether the child's worker or the local adoption unit maintains the working file.
- The adoption worker prepares the report to the court and the health and education form and sends them to the sending office worker for distribution to the parties and presentation at pre-adoption dependency review hearings.
- The pre-adoption dependency reviews continue to be held in the juvenile court of original jurisdiction. Local procedures determine whether the child's CFWS worker or an adoption worker files and presents reports to the court pending finalization.
- When the adoptive family finalizes in Superior Court in the county of residence, a copy of the decree is sent to the sending office for presentation to the juvenile court along with a motion to dismiss and close the dependency case.
- The dismissal is sent to the adoption worker.
- Should the placement disrupt prior to finalization, the child and the case file are returned to the sending office for continued placement planning.
- If the child is placed in a private agency adoptive home, the child's worker sends a case summary and copies of legal and pertinent medical documents to the private agency. The DCFS file will be maintained in the local office until finalization.
- Federal Revenue File-Upon request for an inter-regional or inter-office transfer of a child's social service record through Master File or by a social service unit supervisor or worker, designated staff checks FamLink for the existence of a Federal Revenue file.
- Master File transfer clerk or other designated staff checks CASEUP3 FamLink for the presence and status of the Financial Revenue record.
- Master File notifies the assigned Federal Funding Specialist (FFS) and Supplemental Security Income Facilitator (SSIF) that a case transfer has been requested, and the FFS or SSIF makes the Federal Revenue file available within three working days for transfer.
- The FFS prepares the active/open Federal Revenue file for transfer and affixes the Transfer Notice, DSHS 01-194, to the Federal Revenue file designating the local or regional office to which the file is to be sent.
- Once Master Files receives both the social service and the Federal Revenue files, the two case jackets are forwarded to the requesting DCFS office/region.
- The Master File clerk or other designee notes in CASEUP3 the transfer status of both the social and federal revenue files.
- Family Home Licensing Files-For transfer of active family home license files between offices or regions, the DLR Regional Manager will establish procedures consistent with the following minimum requirements:
- When a family with a valid, active child care license moves from one address to another and wishes to remain licensed, the licensee must submit a new application for child care license for the category of care being provided reflecting the changed circumstances and new address to the appropriate DLR licenser.
- The licenser or other designated staff must create a new FamLink license record for the application at the new address.
- For licensed foster family homes having an acceptable history of child care, the old license may remain in effect for two weeks after a move, except that this applies only if the family remains intact.
- If the family applies for a new license in the new locale, the licenser or support staff in that office will contact the licenser in the former locale and request transfer of the licensing file.
- Before the transfer is made, the transferring licenser reviews the license record for completeness. All documentation and recording must be current before transfer.
- The transfer must be made within seven working days after receipt of the request with a notation in the record as to any additional material to be forwarded and the specified date it will be forwarded. The receiving Regional Manager or supervisor must agree to the transfer before the case is transferred.
- All requests received from subjects of Children's Administration (CA) files by CA for destruction of electronic and hard copy records will be destroyed in accordance with CA's approved record retention schedule.
- This does not apply to records that have already been placed in archives for local office and record retention center archiving and destruction periods.
- RCW 26.33.330 and 26.33.340 provide for the sealing of all adoption files and for the limited release of information from those files. Archiving ensures a permanent record of the child's past involvement with the agency. RCW 26.33.343 provides procedures for accessing of adoption records.
- Records of all legally free children are to be archived upon the child's adoption even if a private agency completed the adoption and has a duplicate file; the department's case record is to be archived or upon closure of a case after the child turns 18 years of age. Prior to any case being sent to adoption archives, the child's social file is consolidated with the Federal Revenue File (Siblings are not to be archived together.) The social worker will complete the archiving of the child's file within 90 days of the dismissal of the dependency.
- When the adoption is final and all court orders, including the Order Dismissing Dependency, have been received by the child's social worker, the social worker prepares the social file for archiving and sends the file to the regional or local Federal Funding IV-E Unit.
- The Federal Funding Specialist and/or Social Security Insurance Fiduciary will review any Title IV-E, Title XIX, or SSI documentation and will consolidate it with the child's social service file. The combined files will be returned to the child's social worker within 30 days of receipt. The financial and service files are not archived while a SSI application is pending. The social worker or other assigned staff updates and closes FamLink legal, placement, adoption and case modules.
- The social worker or support staff, as applicable, prepares the file in the following sequential order:
- Cover memo listing the child's birth name, date of birth, adoptive name, adoptive parent's name/s, date of adoption decree, Superior Court where the adoption was finalized, the social worker's name, and the local office sending the file.
- Copy of final decree of adoption (need not be certified).
- Copy of the Dismissal of dependency
- Child's Medical and Family Background Report is signed by the adoption facilitator and by the adoptive parent(s) including initials where appropriate. Assigned staff must attach all other documents given to the adoptive parents with the DSHS 13-041. (Copies of these documents need not be included elsewhere in the archived file.) See the CA Practices and Procedures Guide, chapter 4000, section 45403, for requirements for disclosure of health and social information on the child and the child's birth parents to the adoptive parents.
- Each volume of the social file shall be removed from the binder, have a rubber band placed around it and labeled with the volume number. Dividers should be removed from the sections (There is no need to separate the sections). Each volume should contain all sections of the child's file including:
- Narrative recording section.
- Indian Child Welfare forms, including LICWAC staffing reports, verification of Native American status, Family Ancestry Chart, notices to Tribes or Canadian Bands, and other related documents.
- Legal/placement document section, including court orders, reports to the court, Pre-placement and Post-Placement Reports, Voluntary Placement Agreements, custody orders, Adoption Planning Review Reports, Administrative Review Reports, Permanency Planning staffing forms, relative home studies, and related documents.
- Medical, psychological, psychiatric, developmental, and school reports on the child as well as psychiatric, psychological, and medical information on the birth parent(s) if in the child's file; documents pertaining to the parents' and/or child's functioning.
- Copies or documentation of any disability benefits applied for or received on behalf of the child.
- Adoption documents, including a copy of the child's life book, WARE and NWAE registration forms, if applicable.
- Copies of the financial section of the file are maintained in the file until the Federal Revenue file is reviewed and archived. Closure copies of payment (SSPS and A-19s, if any) forms, defined as those with a termination code, to provide a record of payments made on behalf of the child, remain in the archived file.
- Statement from Trust Funds Accounting regarding final dispersal of any conserved funds.
- A copy of the child's Social Security card and birth certificate.
- A copy of the Adoption Support program application, if applicable.
- If it comes to the attention of the IV-E Unit that a child in out-of-home care has been adopted, the assigned Federal Funding Specialist communicates to the worker's supervisor requesting that the file be prepared for archiving and forwarded to the IV-E Unit.
- When the IV-E Unit receives the prepared file from the social worker or assigned staff person the FFS includes as one section those parts of the IV-E file that are to be archived.
- The FFS checks the FamLink files to ensure the legal, placement, adoption, and case modules have been closed and that SSPS authorizations, other than for the Adoption Support Program, have been terminated. If these modules have not been closed, the case will be returned to the adoption worker to complete the FamLink documentation. The FFS checks to ensure federal funding information is correct. The child's record with the birth name is closed and secured by the Federal Funding Specialist.
- The FFS maintains the closure copies of payment (SSPS and A-19s, if any) forms, defined as those with a termination code, to provide a record of payments made on behalf of the child, making sure that all documents from the Federal Revenue file have been incorporated with other payment forms.
- For legally free children who have not been adopted, case records are archived as outlined above after the child's 18th birthday and following case closure.
- The social worker or support staff, as applicable sees that the archived file is sent to the Headquarters Adoption Program Manager at MS 45713, P. O. Box 45713, Olympia, WA 98504-5713 for archiving and notifies the Master File clerk of the date the record has been sent to the state office for archiving along with the file covers.
- Prior to any case being sent to adoption archives or the Record Retention Center, the child's social file shall be consolidated with the Federal Revenue File.
- Any Title IV-E, Title XIX, or SSI documentation shall be reviewed by the FFS and/or SSIF and shall be sent to Master File to be consolidated with the child's social service file.
RCW 26.44.031 requires CA to destroy information related to unfounded referrals in files or reports of child abuse or neglect after six years, unless an additional intake has been received in the intervening period. If this occurs, the six year period begins after the last case has been closed.
Children's Administration (CA) will destroy both electronic and hard copy records in accordance with CA's currently approved record retention schedule. Complete retention and destruction schedules for all file types can be found in the Children's Administration Records Retention Schedule at http://asd.dshs.wa.gov/FRMS/FRMS-Schedules.htm#ScheduleSeries700
- When DCFS cases are closed, they are sent to the local office Master Files. The Master Files Clerk is responsible for removing the case record binder contents and attaching them to manila file folders for local office storage for one year and subsequent retention at the Records Retention Center.
- Closed DCFS files are to be labeled with the client's name, case number and a notation on the outside of the folder if the client has Limited English Proficiency (LEP), is an Indian Child Welfare client or speaks American Sign Language (ASL).
- In HQ, the Records Retention Coordinator is to develop procedures for various HQ records retention and retain accordingly.
- In DLR, Records are retained in their original case files, stored in the local office for one year (with the exception of revocation or denial of license files, see below.)
Note: As of December 2008, DCFS will no longer be using color coded folders in Master files.
Licensing files that were closed due to a revocation or denial of a license will be retained for 35 years in the local office.
Redacted discovery files must be retained until the youth's 21st birthday.
CA records are sent to the Washington State Archives for historical preservation or research.
- RCW 26.33.330 and 26.33.340 provide for the sealing of all adoption files and for the limited release of information from those files. Archiving ensures a permanent record of the child's past involvement with the agency. RCW 26.33.343 provides procedures for accessing of adoption records.
- Records for legally free children are to be archived upon the child's adoption even if a private agency completed the adoption and has a duplicate file. Prior to any case being sent to adoption archives, the child's social file is consolidated with the Federal Revenue File (Siblings are not to be archived together.)
- Records for legally free children are to be archived upon closure of a case, even if the child is not adopted.
- Instructions for sending records to the State Archives can be found at: http://www.sos.wa.gov/archives/RecordsManagement/records_center.aspx
CA records are sent to the Records Retention Center for low-cost off site storage.
- With the exception of adoption records and the records of legally free children, all records are to be sent to the State Records and Retention center.
- Records sent to the Records Retention Center (RRC) or State Archives must be packed in designated cardboard boxes in the manner described on their respective websites
- Records that are in an agency name and have no barcode number will be stored with the Secretary of State Record Center.
- Office Request Coordinator- Is the person(s) designated by the office as authorized to request records or obtain information from records stored at RRC.
- Records Coordinator - Is the person(s) designated at HQ and in each local office to have responsibility and authority for the retention and destruction of all files.
- Instructions for record storage, retrieval and destruction using the Records Retention Center bar code system can be found at: http://iesa.dshs.ea.gov/itdcentral/products/barcode/
- Non-essential volumes of an open case that are too large for the worker's cube can be sent to Records Retention Center for storage. The master files clerk must ensure that the case destruction date matches that of the other volumes when the case is closed. If non-essential volumes are sent to the Records Retention Center, care must be taken to ensure that they are not prematurely destroyed.
- Destruction lists sent from the Records and Retention Center are to be reviewed every month by the master files clerk/supervisor and final approval for destruction sent to the Records and Retention Center.
- Final destruction requires that any related electronic records in Famlink be purged.
Continue to section 14000