Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
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Operations Manual



The Children's Administration (CA) management team is responsible for developing and implementing Administration policy and programs and for statewide resource management. Members of the management team include the Assistant Secretary, Division Directors, Office Chiefs, and the six DCFS Regional Administrators.


2210. Office of the Assistant Secretary

2211. Information Services

  1. The Office of Information Services supports the Administration's personal computers (PC), networks, and the Case and Management Information System (CAMIS) applications.
  2. PCs and networks are supported by Computer Information Consultants (CIC) who are located at various offices across the state. CICs install and maintain computers and desktop software. They also manage each office's local area network (LAN), including file servers and printers. These PCs and networks provide word processing, electronic mail, and access to CAMIS.
  3. The CAMIS application is supported by a team of programmers and technical specialists based in Olympia. The programmers make modifications to CAMIS and work with the Department of Information Services (DIS) to operate CAMIS 24 hours a day.

2212. Constituent Relations

The Office of Constituent Relations was created by the legislature in 1991 to provide timely, thorough, and objective resolution of complaints from clients, foster parents, legislators, and others regarding services or programs of the Administration. See Chapter 3000, section 3200, for a description of the formal complaint process used when informal resolution of concerns is not possible.

2220. Division of Management Services

The Division of Management Services provides statewide leadership and program support to the other divisions of the Children's Administration in administrative support functions, resource management, diversity, human resources, quality initiative, public disclosure, and department public relations and communications support.

2221. Office of Children's Administration Research

  1. The Office of Children's Administration Research (OCAR) conducts research and evaluation projects of selected policy and program issues for CA, the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA), and other Administrations, as requested. Data from OCAR research are used to inform policy development, improve practice, and identify program effectiveness and client and provider satisfaction.
  2. OCAR provides technical support and analysis to CA for management information and policy development.

2222. Office of Federal Funding

2223. Operations Support

Operations Support staff:

  1. Plans and manages projects related to statewide CA issues and management initiatives; evaluates issues; and conducts evaluations on specific topics, as requested.
  2. Develops accountability mechanisms for statewide use, including regional performance expectations and benchmarks for office and regional performance; works closely with staff of the Office of Quality Assurance and Training.
  3. Plans and develops strategic planning outcome based measures to meet state budgeting and performance requirements; develops reports and data mechanisms to collect and measure outcomes and performance.
  4. Responds to data-based information needs and produces regular, special and ad hoc reports, including the monthly DSHS fiscal/program review, for Administration and agency requirements; develops improvements in management information tools.
  5. Assists the Division of Program and Policy Development and the Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) in developing and implementing management tracking systems.
  6. Provides background check services, described in chapter 5000, section 5500.
  7. Responds to requests for the public disclosure of information and documentation within required time frames.

2224. Fiscal and Budget Management

  1. Fiscal Management staff are responsible for the following activities:
    1. Statewide fiscal, business, and contracts operation of CA to assure the effective and efficient use of federal and state general funds.
    2. Development and direction of fiscal operations and standards for the Administration.
    3. Development of strategies for allocating and monitoring resources.
    4. Development of Administration budget proposals and forecast assumptions to identify and justify resource needs.
    5. Coordination of statewide procurement, business management, facility management, and asset management activities.
  2. Regional Business Managers work under the supervision of the Regional Administrators and have a matrix reporting relationship to the Director of Management Services.
  3. Fiscal Management staff coordinate reporting of corrective actions resulting from audit findings with Regional Business Managers and contract coordinators.

2225. Contracts

For responsibilities of staff involved in contracts and obtaining services through contracts, see chapter 10000, CONTRACT MANAGEMENT.

  1. Headquarters staff in the Division of Management Services, DLR, or the Division of Program and Policy Development, as applicable, are responsible for the following:
    1. Facilitate the resolution of problems, affecting contract performance, between the contractor and local CA staff when issues cannot be successfully resolved at the local or regional level.
    2. Provide technical assistance and support to contractors and Administration field staff regarding issues arising from the provision of the contracted service(s).
    3. Provide technical assistance and consultation to regional staff and contractors on contract issues as needed.
  2. Staff in the contracts section of the Division of Management Services coordinates statewide contracting activities for the Division of Program and Policy Development, the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and DLR.
  3. The Division of Management Services contract management staff are the primary liaison with the department's contracts personnel in Central Contract Services (CCS).

2226. Diversity

The diversity coordinator provides statewide coordination and oversight for diversity issues in CA. Specific requirements are identified in chapter 4000.

2227. Quality Initiative

  1. Executive Order 97-03 requires each agency to implement a quality improvement program. The continuous quality improvement approach has demonstrated improved performance in a wide range of public and private organizations. Successful quality efforts require effective leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, employee involvement, continuous improvement, and self-assessment of results.
  2. Each agency is required to implement a program to improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the public service it provides. Improvement in quality is to be accomplished through:
    1. Business process redesign, employee involvement (including involvement of recognized collective bargaining representatives), and other quality improvement techniques.
    2. Provision of training to employees to enable them to successfully implement and complete their efforts in quality improvement.
    3. Designation of a person in each agency to be responsible for improvement of the quality of the systems and work processes within the agency.
    4. Establishment of a Quality Steering Committee composed of appropriate senior management, mid-management, front line staff, and support staff organizations.
  3. The CA Quality Improvement Manager provides statewide coordination and technical assistance to support the Quality Initiative. The position is responsible for:
    1. Planning, coordinating, and implementing activities to further the Quality Initiative.
    2. 2. Preparing the CA's annual quality improvement plan and revising as needed.
    3. 3. Providing training regarding continuous quality improvement (CQI) theory and practice for all organizational levels of CA.
    4. Assisting quality improvement teams to use the continuous improvement strategy, including statistical process control.
    5. Developing mechanisms to report on the status of implementation of the Quality Initiative and progress made by quality improvement teams.
    6. Facilitating identification of priority areas for process improvement.
    7. Designing, administering, and analyzing customer, client, and employee surveys.

2230. Division of Program and Policy Development

The Division of Program and Policy Development provides statewide leadership, program support, and policy development to the major program areas directly administered by CA divisions. Program and Policy Development staff, under the leadership of the division director:

  1. Facilitate staff support and respond to assigned tasks and projects at the direction of the Assistant Secretary or designee. Participate and coordinate with field staff in special project tasks.
  2. Provide input to and staff support for policy development activity. Participate with and provide staff support to the process of writing policy and procedure for the CA Manuals, including the Case Services Policy Manual, the Practices and Procedures Guide, the Indian Child Welfare Manual, and this Operations Manual.
  3. Review and interpret federal and state statutes for decision-makers and field staff. Inform decision-makers of needed changes and facilitate implementation of revised statutes.
  4. Write Washington Administrative Code (WAC) rules in consultation with stakeholders.
  5. Provide uniform interpretation and clarification of program policies and procedures for headquarters and field staff.
  6. Assist field staff in the coordination and monitoring of service programs for compliance with statutes, regulations, and department policies to maintain program integrity and to evaluate system effectiveness. Monitor headquarters-managed contracts for compliance with contract terms.
  7. Develop and design with regional staff and other department resources: pamphlets, brochures, and other materials necessary to improve the quality of programs and services.
  8. Work with OCAR on the selection of research projects.
  9. Provide information and program consultation to other department programs, regional staff, local offices, and community groups.
  10. Perform public and community relations activities, in conjunction with other CA divisions.
  11. Prepare, route for departmental, intergovernmental, and public review, as required, and submit to the funding source federal project grant applications and state plans and amendments.
  12. In conjunction with the Regional Administrators and the headquarters management team, develop legislative proposals for Executive Management consideration.
  13. Assign legislative bills for analysis, including those affecting other divisions and offices.
  14. Coordinate requests from legislators and legislative staff to ensure that CA responses are timely and consistent.
  15. Perform legislative bill analysis, analyze and comment on proposed regulations, and monitor legislation and legislative activity.

2231. Office of Quality Assurance and Training

The Office of Quality Assurance and Training:

  1. Develops internal evaluation systems and quality control mechanisms to improve existing CA programs and to promote and disseminate best social work practice within the Administration.
  2. Develops tools, guidelines, and program standards for evaluating practice and program implementation.
  3. Provides technical assistance and consultation to regions in developing and establishing regular program reviews, measures of program performance, workload tracking, and development of workload management strategies.
  4. Conducts program reviews and provides ongoing assistance in implementing recommendations.
  5. Identifies skills and characteristics that promote quality child welfare practice for line staff, supervisors, and management; utilizes information gathered to develop training plans for staff; shares information with regional managers for the purpose of improving hiring decisions. Identifies training needs on issues important to line staff, supervisors, management, and stakeholders and develops training resources to meet needs.
  6. Provides Academy training for new social work staff, advanced social work skills, supervisory training, and training on special topics.
  7. Edits and publishes a statewide Practice Digest that includes articles on practice strategies written by both CA staff and community sources.

2232. Correspondence

The correspondence desk provides administrative assistance by reviewing, prioritizing, delegating, and coordinating assigned correspondence from the Governor's Office, the DSHS Secretary's Office, and the CA Assistant Secretary's Office. Correspondence desk staff coordinates manual distribution, manual updates, and records retention for headquarters. Staff also assigns and tracks Sunset Review Notices received from the Office of Forms and Records Management.

2240. Division of Licensed Resources

The Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) was established by Executive Order to improve the health and safety of children in out-of-home care, to strengthen monitoring and licensing of all licensed care resources, and to separate regulatory oversight from placement activities. The division is composed of the Office of Foster Care Licensing (OFCL), and a unit of investigators charged with investigation of allegations of child abuse and/or neglect in licensed child care homes and facilities.

2242. Office of Foster Care Licensing

  1. The duties of the Office of Foster Care Licensing (OFCL) include:
    1. Implementation of WAC minimum licensing requirements for foster family child homes, staffed foster homes, group homes, child placing agencies, crisis residential centers, and overnight youth shelters to address health and safety of children in care.
    2. Perform the activities necessary to license or certify family foster homes, residential facilities for youth, and child placing agencies as authorized under chapter 74.15 RCW.
    3. Oversee and conduct Group Care Health and Safety Reviews, in conformity with chapter 5000, section 5400, of this manual.
    4. Conduct and lead Health and Safety Reviews of foster family homes.
    5. Conduct investigations of allegations of failures on the part of licensees to meet minimum licensing requirements.
    6. Provide or arrange for the provision of Foster Parent Scope training for foster parents
  2. See chapter 12000 of this manual and chapter 5000 of the CA Practices and Procedures Guide for the standards to be implemented by OFCL.

2243. Facility Investigations Unit

The Facility Investigations Unit is responsible for conducting investigations of alleged child abuse and neglect (CA/N) in department-licensed, certified, and regulated facilities for children. The investigative staff conduct their investigations in accordance with the standards outlined in chapter 5000, section 5300, of this manual and the DLR Child Abuse Section Practice Guide - Investigating Abuse and Neglect in State-Regulated Care.


2310. Regional Responsibilities

The Regional Administrator for DCFS and the Regional Manager for DLR are responsible for regional performance expectations, service delivery, and administration of all activities related to DCFS or DLR services through the region's local offices and private contractors. The Regional Administrator is responsible for supervision and oversight of all DCFS activities in the region, while the Regional Manager is responsible for all OFCL functions, as applicable. Specific responsibilities include the following:

  1. Implement regional performance expectations and communicate Administration expectations to all staff.
  2. For the Regional Administrator, participate as a member of the CA Management Team.
  3. Develop regional allocation plans and manage expenditures of dollars and Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions against the approved budget and allotments.
  4. Establish adequate management oversight systems to ensure appropriate resource management, policy compliance, and monitoring and tracking of audit findings.
  5. Develop and implement region-wide procedures to execute the policy provisions of federal and state law and the Case Services Policy Manual, the Practices and Procedures Guide, and this Operations Manual to maintain basic state-wide program consistency.
  6. Disseminate state and regional office program and policy information to field staff.
  7. Communicate the Administration's mission, goals, and objectives to all staff.
  8. Communicate agency and Administration information to all staff to ensure adequate understanding of policy and resource issues.
  9. Coordinate training opportunities for field staff with the Office of Quality Assurance and Training to ensure uniform implementation of state and regional programs and practices. Deliver regional training per CA policy, including monitoring compliance with mandatory training requirements.
  10. Work to achieve satisfactory compliance with state and regional policy and procedure by monitoring service delivery in the region.
  11. Respond to inquiries and provide policy interpretation and clarification for staff.
  12. Identify, research, and implement solutions to problems affecting service delivery.
  13. Develop community resources to assist and complement service delivery in the region.
  14. Manage regional contracts for service provision and fiscal integrity, as applicable.
  15. Appoint and provide support for regional committees as authorized by law or the Secretary.
  16. Provide staff to participate in CA committees requiring regional representation to maintain a field-oriented approach to procedure development.
  17. Respond to media inquiries and to central office requests for information for other inquiries from the media and the legislature about children and family services issues or licensing issues, as applicable.
  18. Develop and implement procedures for a system of adequate service delivery, within assigned responsibilities, within the region. Within available resources, this system shall be consistent with state workload standards and any applicable state policies and includes:
    1. Local office organization and structure.
    2. Reception and clerical support.
    3. Intake and assessment
    4. Case assignment.
    5. Social service planning, delivery, and resolution.
    6. Case consultation.
    7. Case transfer.
    8. Case resolution.
    9. Privacy, security, and accuracy of social service and other records, including CAMIS.
    10. Client and customer relations.
    11. Quality improvement activities.

2320. Exceptions to Policy/Waivers

  1. The department does not have the authority to waive provisions of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and federal laws and rules.
  2. For DCFS programs and services, the Regional Administrator is delegated responsibility for granting all Exceptions to Policy (ETP) or waivers to rules, policies, or manual provisions, where such ETPs or waivers do not conflict with federal or state statute. The Regional Administrator may delegate all or selected subject areas to subordinate managers, if such delegation is done in writing.
  3. For manual provisions and WAC relating to child care licensing issues and other matters under his or her responsibility, the Director, DLR, is delegated responsibility for granting ETP or waivers. The Director, DLR, may delegate all or selected subject areas to subordinate managers, if such delegation is executed in writing.
  4. The Director, DLR, is required to report monthly to the Assistant Secretary on all waivers regarding licensed or certified child care facilities.

2330. Community Interagency Protocols

  1. The Regional Administrator is responsible for maintenance of active community involvement in the planning for services. Community resources and volunteers are part of the total resources available to fulfill service objectives.
  2. The Regional Administrator or the DLR Regional Manager is authorized to enter into such interagency letters of agreement as deemed necessary to ensure the delivery of appropriate services to clients and to create and maintain improved working relationships with other agencies. The agreements may take a form determined by the Regional Administrator/Regional Manager or designee but must be in writing and signed by the parties. The agreements are not legal contracts and may not obligate the expenditure of state funds.

2340. Business Management

2341. Purpose and Scope

  1. Regional Administrators, Area Managers, and DLR Regional Managers are responsible for fiscal and resource oversight.
  2. The Regional Business Manager plans and manages the business affairs of the region for DCFS and DLR, including fiscal and administrative planning, and administers management support services to field offices.
  3. The Business Manager participates as an essential member of the region's management team, on vendor/community groups, and carries out statewide fiscal and resource activities under the direction of the CA Division of Management Services.

2342. Business Manager Responsibilities

The Regional Business Manager performs the following and/or other functions as directed by the Regional Administrator or the Director, Management Services Division:

  1. Supervision or oversight of administrative support functions, including: accounting/fiscal; budget; federal funding; contracts; personnel/payroll; procurement/purchasing; CAMIS training; facilities; equipment; and computer information.
  2. Facility planning and management and/or coordination if co-located with other Administrations or divisions of the department.
  3. Equipment management and procurement, including inventory oversight.
  4. Preparation and justification of operating and program budget information. Development, with the regional administrative team, of distribution of allotments.
  5. Timely preparation of regional monthly management reports, including the Monthly Management Report (MMR), new FTE report, and vacancy report, monitoring the region's total expenditures to the allotment. Analysis of the current data and project expenditures based on history, making recommendations to regional management. Review and determination of fiscal reporting needs for regional management staff's use in monitoring field office expenditures.
  6. Development of regional procedures for contract administration, facility planning and management, accounting, procurement, disbursements, fiscal internal controls and audit responses; personnel and payroll; CAMIS training, and office automation/equipment.
  7. Assistance to the SSPS regional coordinator in determining account codes as needed. Oversight of the review of SSPS payments. Review of SSPS codes and expenditure account coding to ensure accuracy.
  8. Management and reporting on the monthly establishment of accruals, including review of the logic used, and accuracy of accruals.
  9. Coordination and/or conduct of self-assessment; oversight and/or development of corrective action plans for findings of federal and state auditors pertaining to regional office operations; monitoring of local offices for timely compliance and completion of plans; coordination or conduct of internal control audits of local offices.
  10. Determination and development of reports that will meet regional management information reporting needs.
  11. Evaluation, development, and implementation of systems, policies, and procedures that will enhance client/staff services.


Communication among state, regional, and local offices occurs on an as-needed basis for purposes of consultation to carry out the job assignments of Children's Administration positions. However, staff must take direction from their own supervisor, or, in the supervisor's absence, through the established lines of reporting authority.

2410. Correspondence

  1. In recognition that each letter is an opportunity for improving public relations, CA staff assigned by the Headquarters Correspondence Desk to prepare responses to correspondence must meet due dates assigned by the Correspondence Desk.
  2. Letters prepared by CA staff must respond to the pertinent issues. While point-by-point response for each issue may address the correspondent's stated concerns, these may miss the main point of the issues being raised. Accordingly, correspondence needs to address the larger issues raised.
  3. CA staff preparing correspondence must ensure that editing, grammar, and content are accurate before submitting letters to the correspondence desk.

2420. Telephone Calls

2421. Response Times

To provide good customer service to clients, stakeholders, foster parents, and others, all CA staff must respond within 24 hours or the next business day of receipt to telephone calls within the staff's assigned responsibility, whether complaints or other types of calls. See DSHS Administrative Policy 14.18.

2422. Collect Telephone Calls

  1. Purpose and Scope
    1. This section establishes guidelines for CA staff to follow when asked to accept charges for a collect telephone call.
    2. When receiving requests to accept charges for a collect telephone call, each CA employee must use the employee's best judgment in determining the necessity of accepting the charges.
  2. Guidelines
    1. The DCFS Area Administrator or DLR Regional Manager, as applicable, for field staff must establish criteria for acceptance of collect calls, including designation of staff authorized to accept the calls, so that appropriate calls are accepted and inappropriate calls are avoided. Typically, CA staff may accept the charges for a collect telephone call from the following individuals:
      1. A child/youth in the custody of CA;
      2. A child/youth with a case open for services to CA;
      3. he incarcerated parent of a child who is a CA client;
      4. An individual with whom CA must make contact for case planning or investigative purposes; or
      5. Other individuals with whom contact is necessary to promote the health and welfare of children served by CA.
    2. The assigned social worker, the worker's supervisor, or other staff designated by the Area Manager will make efforts to reduce the number of collect telephone calls accepted by:
      1. Providing clients with the toll-free number, where one is available, for his/her office;
      2. Offering to call the client back immediately after initial contact has been made, if this would not jeopardize contact with the client;
      3. Not accepting collect calls from individuals whose business would be expected to assume long distance telephone calls; and
      4. ot accepting collect calls which are not necessary for case planning for a CA client.
    3. After agreeing to accept the charges for a collect telephone call, the assigned social worker or the worker's supervisor will document in the client Service Episode Record (SER) that he/she agreed to accept the collect call and the reason for accepting the charges. The SER documenting the client contact may be used for this purpose. In addition, the person accepting the call will inform the business office or telephone billing coordinator of the call and anticipated bill by e-mail.
    4. Staff of the Office of Children's Administration Research (OCAR) may accept collect telephone calls as part of research projects when such activities are part of the methodology designated for collection of data