1140. Family Assessment

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary

Original Date: December 2011

Revised Date: October 19, 2017

Policy Review:  October 1, 2020


Conducting an assessment of the family is the process of gathering information to gain a greater understanding of how a family's strengths, needs and resources affect child safety, well-being, and permanency. Assessments are completed in partnership with the family to understand what everyday life challenges and individual caregiver patterns of behaviors contribute to child safety threats that will be addressed in case planning.


This policy applies to DCFS staff.


RCW 26.44.260 Family assessment response

RCW 26.44.270 Family assessment, recommendation of services


  1. Assessments of the family are completed at key decision points in a case.
  2. Assessments must identify the enhanced protective and diminished protective capacities directly related to the identified safety threats.
  3. Family members must be included in the assessment process.
  4. Assessments must include information and input from professionals and other collateral contacts that have knowledge of the child and family.
  5. Information contained in the Comprehensive Family Evaluation (CFE) DSHS 10-480, Investigative Assessment (IA) DSHS 09-967 and the FAR Family Assessment (FARFA) DSHS 10-474 will be used to help develop the case plan.


Caseworkers must:

  1. Complete the FARFA and/or CFE with the family to address changes in behaviors, conditions and attitudes related to safety.
  2. Assess conditions for return home when updating a CFE. Review how the safety threat is or is not:
    1. Being managed by the caregiver;
    2. How the parent is incorporating service provisions into their daily life; and
    3. If the safety threat can be managed in the family home.
  3. Complete the following in FamLink:
    1. The DLR/CPS Investigative Assessment DSHS 09-967 within 60 calendar days of Children's Administration (CA) receiving the intake.
    2. The initial CFE within 45 calendar days of a Family Voluntary Services (FVS) or Child and Family Welfare Services (CFWS) case assignment. This includes supervisor approval in FamLink.
    3. The FARFA upon case closure, no later than 90 days from intake.
  4. Update the CFE in FamLink:
    1. Every 90 days after the completion of the prior CFE on FVS cases.
    2. A minimum of every six months or when a new report to the court is required for a CFWS case.
    3. When conditions for return home have been achieved.
    4. When developing or changing a case plan.
    5. Prior to case closure.


Comprehensive Family Evaluation DSHS 10-480 (located in FamLink)

DLR/CPS Investigative Assessment DSHS 09-967 (located in FamLink)

Investigative Assessment (IA) DSHS 09-967 (located in FamLink)

FAR Family Assessment DSHS 10-474 (located in FamLink)


Comprehensive Family Evaluation Guide

Comprehensive Family Evaluation for Legally Free Children Guide

Investigative Assessment Guide