1135. Infant Safety Education and Intervention

Approval: Jennifer Strus, Assistant Secretary

Original Date: October 31, 2014

Revised Date: March 31, 2017

Sunset Review: March 31, 2021


Children's Administration (CA) is committed to improving child safety outcomes for children under one year of age through early intervention and education with parents and out-of-home caregivers. Children under one-year-old are vulnerable to risk of harm from parental impairment due to alcohol/or drugs, accidental suffocation and serious injury from blunt-force trauma.


This policy applies to CA staff.


P.L. 11-320 Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA) of 2010


Note: The requirements listed in this policy do not apply to children who are placed out-of-state through Interstate Compact and Placement of Children.

  1. Newborn: Plan of Safe Care
    DCFS staff must:
    1. Complete a Plan of Safe Care DSHS 15-491 with the family as required by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) when a newborn:
      1. Is identified as substance affected by a medical practitioner. Substances are defined as alcohol, marijuana and any drug with abuse potential, including prescription medications.
      2. Is born to a dependent youth.
    2. Upload the completed Plan of Safe Care DSHS 15-491 in FamLink.
  2. Birth to 6 months: Period of Purple Crying
    1. DCFS staff will inquire if parents or caregivers have previously received information on Period of Purple Crying when working with families.
    2. DLR Licensors will inquire if parents or caregivers have previously received information on Period of Purple Crying when licensing or approving a home study for families accepting placements.
    3. CA staff will provide Period of Purple Crying educational materials to any parent/caregiver who has not previously received information.
  3. Birth to One Year: Infant Safe Sleep
    1. CA staff will conduct a safe sleep assessment:
      1. When placing a child in a new placement setting; or
      2. Completing a CPS intervention involving a child aged birth to one year, even if the child is not identified as an alleged victim or an identified child.
        1. The assessment must be completed where the child primarily resides.
        2. DLR CPS investigators will review the licensed facility environment for safe sleep.
    2. When licensing or approving a home study with families accepting placements for infants, the home study workers will assess the sleeping environment and educate the family on safe sleep practices.
    3. Document the results of the safe sleep assessment.


  1. Birth to 6 months: Period of Purple Crying
    DCFS and home study staff must:
    1. Determine if the parent/caregiver (licensed or unlicensed) has already received the "Period of PURPLE Crying" education and DVD/booklet.
      1. If already received, discuss any questions the caregiver may have regarding Period of PURPLE Crying.
      2. If not received:
        1. Provide the "Period of PURPLE Crying" education and DVD/booklet. Review and discuss the information outlined in the booklet. The following key points should be relayed to caregivers:
          1. Teach what the letters "PURPLE" stand for as well as why understanding normal infant crying is important.
          2. Reinforce to families that if an infant is crying and they become frustrated they should put the infant down in a safe environment.
          3. Explain that caregiver's frustration due to Period of Purple Crying may cause the caregiver to shake the baby which can result in significant, if not life threatening, effects.
        2. Play the 10 minute "PURPLE" video for the caregivers after your presentation of the booklet if resources are available.
          1. Emphasize the importance of the material presented.
          2. Reinforce to the caregivers that all persons who will be caring for their infant should review this information.
          3. Remind caregivers about the 17-minute soothing film on the DVD to help caregivers understand ways to soothe their baby and cope with inconsolable crying periods.
    2. Document in a case note or provider note:
      1. When the caregiver receives or has previously received the Period of Purple Crying education and materials, or
      2. If the caregiver refused to discuss the Period of Purple Crying materials.
  2. Birth to One Year: Infant Safe Sleep
    DCFS and home study staff must:
    1. Complete a safe sleep assessment with the parent or caregiver by:
      1. Reviewing and assessing the child’s sleeping environment using the Infant Safe Sleep Guidelines DSHS 22-1577 with parents or caregivers of infants younger than 12 months during the first in-person meeting.
      2. The DCFS caseworker must also review these guidelines at each subsequent health and safety visit.
    2. Engage the parent or caregiver to create a safe sleep environment if one does not exist. This includes DCFS staff providing parents and unlicensed caregivers with a pack and play or bedside co-sleeper that meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard as soon as possible if the child does not have a safe and separate sleeping area. DLR will not approve a home study without a safe sleep environment.
    3. Consult with his or her supervisor when there are additional risk factors, e.g., substance abuse, mental health issues, etc., associated with a parent or caregiver's ability to maintain child safety and a safe sleep environment.
    4. Include the following documentation:
      1. Results of safe sleep assessment (if needed) in a case note, Investigative Assessment, FAR Family Assessment, Comprehensive Family Evaluation, home study or provider note.
      2. If the caregiver refused to participate in the process of creating a safe sleep environment for the child.
      3. Any safety concerns or risk factors identified in licensed facilities will be immediately shared with the licensor.

Forms and Tools

Infant Safe Sleep Assessment Guidelines (DSHS 22-1577)

Safe Sleep for Your Baby Every Time brochure - Available in English and Spanish

A program of the Safe Sleep campaign:
The following free materials (available in English and Spanish) from the Safe to Sleep campaign and will be available in local offices for distribution to families caring for infants under the age of one year:

Honor the Past, Learn for the Future: Reduce the Risk of SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death (American Indian/Alaska Native Outreach)


A Program of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome - www.dontshake.org