4260. Placement Moves

Approval:  Connie Lambert-Eckel, Assistant Secretary

Original Date: 

Revised Date:  July 1, 2018

Policy Review:  July 1, 2021


Provide direction to Children’s Administration (CA) staff about children in CA care and custody currently placed in out-of-home care and:  

  • Identifying when it is necessary for a move to a different out-of-home placement.
  • Notifying current kinship and licensed caregivers about a child’s prospective move.


This policy applies to CA staff.   


RCW 13.34.050  Court order to take child into custody, when—Hearing.

RCW 13.34.130  Order of disposition for a dependent child, alternatives—Petition seeking termination of parent-child relationship—Placement with relatives, foster family home, group care facility, or other suitable persons—Placement of an Indian child in out-of-home care—Contact with siblings.

RCW 13.34.150  Modification of orders.

RCW 26.44.056  Protective detention or custody of abused child—Reasonable cause—Notice—Time limits—Monitoring plan—Liability.

RCW 74.15.030  Powers and duties of secretary

RCW 74.13.300  Enforcement action—Definition

42 U.S.C. 671        State plan for foster care and adoption assistance


  1. CA staff must attempt to minimize placement moves for children in out-of-home care. When determining if a child should be moved, CA staff must consider the child’s safety, permanency needs and what is in their best interest.
  2. Determining when to move a child in the care and custody of CA:
    1. Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) caseworkers must seek removal of a child from an out-of-home placement if the worker determines that the child’s placement poses a present danger or safety threat to the child.
    2. Division of Licensed Resources (DLR)
      1. The DLR/CPS investigators must notify their supervisor when a child is in present danger, there is a safety threat or their safety is in jeopardy.
      2. The DLR/CPS supervisor must immediately contact the assigned DCFS caseworker’s supervisor once they receive notification of the safety concern.
      3. If DLR and DCFS staff disagree with the assessment of risk and moving the child, the Director of Field Operations makes the decision per the DLR Shared Decision Making policy matrix.
    3. Founded Finding in a Foster Home
      1. If DCFS, the private agency, or a tribe asks DLR to maintain the license of a foster or group care provider after the provider receives a founded finding of child abuse or neglect:
        1. DLR can only continue the license if it is within the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) guidelines per 42 U.S.C. 671. This does not include tribe-licensed homes or facilities.
        2. The DLR AA must consult ASFA guidelines for corrective action plans and continuation of foster care licenses.
        3. The DCFS regional administrator (RA) and the DLR administrator must review the case with the Director of Field Operations before DCFS staff process adoption consents or agreement to a plan of guardianship if a child remains with a caregiver or in a facility with a founded finding for child abuse or neglect (CA/N) or where DLR believes revocation is necessary.
    4. Revoked Foster Home License
      1. If DLR revokes the license and children in CA’s care and custody are present in the home:
        1. The DLR area administrator (AA) must:
          1. Notify the DCFS AA and the private agency or tribal social service agency, when applicable.
          2. Conduct a joint staffing with DCFS to discuss the issues and concerns, and the child’s safety and permanency. DCFS will determine placement of the child.
  3. Prior to Moving a Child
    DCFS caseworkers must:
    1. Offer or provide services, e.g., respite, Family Preservation Services (FPS) or evidence based practices (EBP), or Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe) that can support the child remaining in the home if:
      1. The placement does not pose a present danger or a safety threat, and
      2. DCFS is considering moving a child or the caregiver is asking for the child to be moved.  
    2. Consult their supervisor regarding recommendations to move a child before making a decision to remove a child.
    3. Conduct a Family Team Decision Making (FTDM) Meeting prior to an out-of-home placement move, or within 72-hours of the move if an immediate safety threat warrants removal before an FTDM can occur.
  4. Moving a Child
    DCFS caseworkers must:
    1. Follow Indian Child Welfare (ICW) Policies and Procedures when there is reason to know any one of the following:
      1. The child is a member of a federally recognized tribe;
      2. The child is eligible for membership and is the biological child of a member of a federally recognized tribe; or
      3. The juvenile court has found that Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) applies.
    2. Reconsider placing the child with full or half-siblings according to policy.
    3. Contact the Relative Search unit at CARelativeSearch@dshs.wa.gov whenever a relative search is needed and follow the Kinship Care: Searching for, Placing with, and Supporting Relatives and Suitable Other person policy. The Relative Search unit will complete the Relative Search Tracking form DSHS 10-544 with all relatives identified.
    4. Follow the Licensed Foster Parents and Licensed Kinship Caregivers: Placement and Support policy if a child moves to a new licensed placement.
    5. Follow Placement - Intensive Resources and ICPC policies if a child is moved out of state.
    6. If a child or youth is receiving Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS), coordinate with the BRS agency to find another home.
    7. Notification to Caregivers
      1. If a child has lived in the same foster or kinship family home for at least 90 consecutive days, the DCFS caseworker, or DLR staff if agreed to in writing, must notify caregivers at least five days prior to moving a child using Five-Day Notice to Move DSHS 27-082 unless:
        1. A court order requires an immediate change in placement.
        2. The child is being returned home.
        3. The child’s safety is in jeopardy.
        4. The child is residing in a receiving home or group home.
      2. If a child has not lived in the same foster or kinship family home for at least 90 consecutive days, or one of the circumstances in g. i. 1- 4 applies and it is not possible to provide five days’ notification, then the DCFS caseworker must notify the foster family of the child’s impending move as soon as reasonably possible.
      3. If DLR recommends moving a child from placement, the assigned DCFS caseworker must inform the licensed provider of the child’s move as soon as possible unless the DLR staff has agreed to do so.
  5. Documentation
    DCFS caseworkers must:
    1. Document in FamLink a child’s move within three business days of a child moving.
    2. Describe the following information in FamLink.
      1. Efforts to prevent the placement move and reasons why the child was moved.
      2. Child’s routine and special needs related to their:
        1. Safety
        2. Psychological well-being
        3. Physical and behavioral health care
        4. Culture
        5. Education
        6. Religious affiliation
      3. Efforts to place siblings together.
    3. Document in an ICW specific case note, efforts taken to find placement consistent with placement preferences when there is reason to believe the child is a member, or the biological child of a member and eligible for membership, in a federally recognized child according to Chapter 7: Indian Child Placement Preferences and Relative Search in Indian Child Welfare Policies and Procedures.


RCW 74.15.010 refers to the removal of children who are in the care and custody of CA.  “Child's safety is in jeopardy” is a lower standard than the imminent harm standard. The intent section for the licensing statute clarifies this standard.