4211. Notification to Foreign Consulates


Ensure children or parents who are citizens of another country are connected to the appropriate consulate. Provide staff practice guidance about how and when to contact a foreign consul for a dependent child placed in out of home care.


Vienna Convention on Consular Notification - Article 37


  1. The citizenship or immigration status must be assessed for each parent and child when the child is placed in out-of-home care.
  2. When CA obtains legal custody of a child who is a foreign national, federal treaty obligations require that the foreign consulate be given notice.
  3. Limited English Proficient (LEP) clients must have access to interpreters and culturally relevant services from certified or authorized contracted translators as listed in the provisions of Access to Services for Clients who are Limited English Proficient (LEP) Administrative Policy No. 7.21


  1. Determine and document each parent and child's citizenship at the time a child is placed in care by asking:
    1. Are you a US citizen? Are you a citizen of another country? If, yes what country?
    2. The child or parent: if the if child is a US citizen? Is the child a citizen of another country? If, yes what country?
  2. Notify the foreign consulate by faxing the Notice to Foreign Consulate of Child Protection Proceedings DSHS 15-402 of the child's or parent(s) home country as soon as citizenship is known when CA obtains legal custody of a child. Notification must be made as soon as possible but no later than 30 days. (Notifications to consulates are preferably made by fax but may also be made by telephone or email).

    Note: The address of the nearest consular office for a foreign country can be found in a publication entitled Foreign Consular Offices in the United States.

  3. Coordinate if the consulate contacts CA to:
    1. Obtain a signed release from the parent(s) to share information with the consulate; and
    2. Provider identified services with the family.
  4. Document in FamLink any:
    1. Foreign citizenship on the person Management page.
    2. Notification to a consulate by uploading the Notice to Foreign Consulate of Child Protection Proceedings DSHS 15-402 form into FamLink.

Cultural Considerations

Family Centered Approach:
The way CA staff engages the family (or fails to engage the family) can directly affect the willingness of the family to work with other members of the department. The level of trust and integrity established between the agency and the family often has a direct relationship on the child being able to remain/reunify with his/her family. Everyone who meets the family needs to build positive relationships.

For example:
The definition of family varies from group to group. While the dominant culture has focused on the nuclear family, African Americans define family as a wide network of extended family, non-blood kin and community. Native American Indian families traditionally include at least three generations and multiple parental functions delegated among aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents and cousins. Different cultural groups also vary in their traditional practices and views of adoption.

Determine if there are cultural considerations that need to be addressed as part of the planning process, for example, obtaining information about protocols, such as, how to approach a family, use of a cultural elder, matriarch or patriarch or the need for a culturally appropriate support person.

Forms and Tools

Consent to release Information DSHS 14-012

Notice to Foreign Consulate of Child Protection Proceedings DSHS 15-402

Foreign Consular Offices in the United States

TIPS on Mexican Consulate Services


Foreign Consular Offices in the United States

Suggested Practice Tips When a child is a citizen of a foreign country, the best practice is to give the consul notice. In addition to satisfying the legal requirement, contact with the consul may facilitate locating family members or other resources in a foreign country