1170. Domestic Violence

Approval:   Jennifer Strus, Assistant Secretary

Original Date:  March 31, 2017

Policy Review: March 31, 2020


Purpose

To recognize and understand the dynamics of domestic violence (DV) in families through the universal screening process and to determine the impact of DV on child safety through the specialized DV assessment.

Scope

This policy applies to all Children’s Administration intake workers, Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) caseworkers and Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) staff.

Laws

RCW 26.44.020  Definitions

RCW 10.99.020  Definitions

RCW 10.99.030  Law enforcement officers - Training, powers, duties - Domestic violence reports

RCW 26.50.010  Definitions

RCW 26.50.250  Disclosure of information

RCW 42.56.240  Investigative, law enforcement, and crime victims

Policy

  1. Universal DV screening is routinely conducted at key points in a case to determine if DV is present. DV screening includes interviews and review of records and available databases.
  2. If DV is determined to be present in a case through universal screening, CA staff must conduct a Specialized DV Assessment which is an interview protocol, not a tool.    
  3. Information gathered during the DV screening and the Specialized DV Assessment, is used in addition to the gathering questions to complete the Safety Assessment and determine if a safety threat to the child exists.
  4. If DV poses present danger to a child, CA staff must take immediate protective actions necessary to address child safety.
  5. If DV poses a safety threat to a child in his or her biological parent or legal caregiver’s care, the worker must:
    1. Develop an in-home safety plan per the 1130. Safety Plan policy if the safety threat(s) can be immediately controlled and managed in the home.
    2. Ensure protection of the child and take necessary steps to place the child in out-of-home care if the safety threats cannot be immediately controlled and managed in the home.
  6. If DV poses a safety threat to a child while in licensed or unlicensed care, he or she must be removed from that placement per 1120. Safety Assessment policy.
  7. CA intake workers must offer DV resource information to the referrer on all intakes (screened in or out) when DV is identified and the referrer is not familiar with DV resources.
  8. CA caseworkers must offer DV resource information to the adult victim in an open case when DV is identified.

Procedures

  1. The intake worker must ask the referent the following universal DV screening questions on all intakes:
    1. Has any adult used or threatened to use physical force against an adult in the home?
    2. If so, the intake worker must ask, “Who did what to whom?”
  2. The CPS, FVS, CFWS caseworker must:
    1. Conduct universal DV screening through individual and separate interviews with all parents, caregivers, adults and children in the home even if DV was not identified at intake to determine:
      1. If DV is present?
      2. If so, who is the adult victim?
      3. If so, who is the DV perpetrator?
    2. Conduct universal DV screening at the following key points:
      1. At first contact with a family. If this is not possible, at the next available opportunity. If a parent refuses to meet separately, consult with the supervisor and document the parent’s refusal to meet in a case note.
      2. A new screened in intake.
      3. Case transfer
      4. Re-assessment of safety (e.g. moving to unsupervised visits, transitioning home, changes in household composition, etc.).
    3. The DLR/CPS investigator must conduct universal DV screening when investigating child abuse or neglect (CA/N) allegations involving a biological family.
    4. The DLR licensor must conduct universal DV screening when completing a home study.
  3. Specialized DV Assessment Interview Protocol
    1. When DV is identified, the assigned caseworker, DLR/CPS investigator or licensor must conduct a to determine if the DV poses a threat to child safety or compromises the family’s ability to address other CA/N. This assessment is accomplished via interviews, review of records and available databases for all of the following information:
      1. DV perpetrator’s pattern of assaultive and coercive tactics.
      2. Impact of DV on the adult victim.
      3. Impact of DV on the child.
      4. Adult victim, perpetrator and community protective factors
      5. The lethality of the DV.
    2. Follow 1130. Safety Plan policy if DV poses a threat to child safety.
  4. Documentation
    1. The intake worker must document the outcome of the universal screening questions in the Additional Risk Factors narrative box of the intake. If the allegation of CA/N involves DV the intake worker must document the information in the Allegation/Concern narrative box.
    2. The assigned caseworker must document the outcome of the universal DV screen in the Structured Decision Making Risk Assessment (SDMRA) tool, narrative sections of the investigative assessment, Family Assessment Response Family Assessment (FARFA), and Comprehensive Family Evaluation (CFE), and reports to the court as applicable.
    3. The assigned caseworker must document the outcome of the specialized DV assessment, if conducted, in a case note.
    4. The DLR/CPS investigator must document the outcome of the universal DV screening and specialized DV assessment interview protocol of the DV in a case note and in the DLR Risk Assessment Matrix, as applicable.
    5. The DLR licensor must document the outcome of the DV screening and specialized DV assessment interview protocol in a provider note or the home study, as applicable.
    6. Safety planning information for the victim or children must be documented in a case note, labeled confidential DV safety plan and include the confidential information:
      1. The identity of a victim or witness to the crime.
      2. The identity of the DV victim if the victim has filed a complaint with an investigative or law enforcement agency and there is an open criminal investigation.
      3. The location of a DV program, including shelters and transitional living facilities.
      4. The victim’s address information, if he or she signed up for the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP).  If the victim is participating in the ACP, use the P.O. Box address that is assigned to them through the Secretary of State.

Resources