4266. Out-of-State Placements

Purpose and Scope

  1. This section establishes guidelines for CA staff to follow when considering placement, usually in a treatment setting, of a child in an out-of-home care setting in another state. Such placements include, but are not necessarily limited to, Behavior Rehabilitation Services/Group Care, Treatment Foster Care, Child in Needs of Services (CHINS) placements, and mental health treatment. They typically do not include relative placements.
  2. While providing directions regarding such placements, CA reaffirms its commitment to meeting needs of children through resources that are geographically close to their families and that are the least restrictive, most home-like setting, consistent with the individual needs of the child.
  3. This procedure applies to placements from this state to another state as well as to placements of children into specialized out-of-state facilities from out-of-state foster care or relative placements when the department no longer considers the home from which the child has been removed to be the child's permanent placement.


  1. Placements in out-of-state programs with which CA has current contracts in the states of Idaho and Oregon require only approval of the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Region which utilizes the contract with the particular program and the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) program manager. See paragraph c. vi. below. Current programs meeting this criterion are Northwest Children's Home, Lewiston, Idaho; Morrison Center, Portland, Oregon; and Janus, Portland, Oregon.
  2. CA does not pay educational costs of children, including those placed out-of-state. The school district in which child resides has the responsibility for these educational costs. If the social worker finds the school district reluctant to cover the educational costs, the social worker needs to consult with the worker's supervisor and area manager, as appropriate, as well as the regional group care coordinator, to develop a plan for obtaining school district support.
    1. If the proposed placement is due, in part, to the inability of the educational district of the child's current residence to meet the educational needs of the child, the school district should be involved in the planning for the placement and should agree to pay for the educational costs for the child in another district, including a district in another state.
    2. If the child's educational needs are being met in the child's residence school district, the school district is under no obligation to pay for the education of the child in another district. However, as the district may be expending large amounts to meet the child's educational needs, the district may be willing to help support the educational needs of the child in another district. It is the school district's decision to make.
    3. The procedure, for any out-of-state placement being considered, is:
      1. The social worker, at the earliest opportunity, must contact the school district in which the child is enrolled and ask for an Individual Education Plan (IEP) conference to discuss the benefits of the possible placement. If the child is not in special education and the placement is not imminent, the social worker must ask that the child be made a “focus of concern,” a federal term related to accessing federal special education dollars.
      2. The social worker must invite the school district to participate in the placement planning process.
      3. In situations where there is an additional charge for educational services within the out-of-state facility, school districts have the ability to write a contract directly with the facility for these services. The district can then apply for federal funding by making the child a “focus of concern.”
  3. For children to be placed in non-currently contracted out-of-state programs, CA staff must meet the following requirements.
    1. The social worker must consult with the regional group care coordinator to discuss the child's needs and options to meet those needs.
    2. The child's social worker must explore all reasonably available and appropriate placement options within this state that may be reasonably expected to meet the child's special needs. CA discourages out-of-state placement of children unless the child's needs can clearly be met only in the out-of-state placement. The social worker must consult with and advise the Juvenile Court and the child's guardian ad litem on the need for out-of-state placement, the proposed placement, and the plan for the child. In addition, the social worker must complete and document in the child's case file the following steps:
      1. Use of a team process to identify child and family needs, including names of participants and dates of meetings or consultations;
      2. Development of a plan to meet identified family and child needs;
      3. Exploration of non-traditional, alternative ways of meeting the child's needs; identification of barriers to these options;
      4. Assessment of relationship of the proposed placement to the child's permanency plan;
      5. Preparation of a description of the behavioral goals to be achieved through this placement;
      6. Determination of anticipated length of stay in out-of-state placement; and
      7. Development of a preliminary discharge plan which includes a description of how supports will be developed so that the child can be returned to the community quickly and which relates to barriers previously identified.
    3. The regional group care coordinator must consult with the CA Residential Care Program Manager to explore all options that may be available within the state before proceeding to place the child out-of-state.
      1. This consultation must occur prior to submission of the written request described in subparagraph d below to the Regional Administrator for the out-of-state placement.
      2. The program manager can provide technical assistance or facilitation of meetings as requested and explore with the group care coordinator goals of the out-of-state placement and discharge planning.
    4. The child's social worker must document, in writing using an Exception to Policy (ETP) form, the need for out-of-state placement, efforts to locate a suitable in-state placement, how the placement will further the permanent plan, a description of the specific facilities considered, the reasons for their rejection, the planned length of out-of-state placement, and the plan for return of the child to this state.
    5. The Regional Administrator or designee must sign the ETP form to approve the placement, and the social worker files the signed form in the child's record.
    6. For all out-of-state placements, CA staff must comply with the requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and the CA Practices and Procedures Guide, chapter 4000, section 4533, Rehabilitative Treatment Services. For those placements in Oregon and Idaho facilities with which CA has contracts, the social worker needs only to complete the CAMIS/ICPC page or an Interstate Compact Placement Request, DSHS 15-092, and fax it to the headquarters ICPC program manager at (360) 902-7903 for ICPC approval.
    7. The Regional Administrator or designee may authorize an out-of-state placement only in a facility within 100 miles of the home from which the child is being placed, with the exception of a currently contracted program. The CA Assistant Secretary, or designee, must approve any out-of-state placement where the placement treatment facility is located more than 100 miles from the child's home and is not a currently contracted facility or program.
    8. The Regional Administrator, or designee, as applicable, may approve out-of-state placement of a child only when:
      1. The placement is consistent with the child's permanent plan;
      2. Necessary services to meet the child's special needs are unavailable within this state;
      3. Appropriate services are offered in closest proximity to the family resource;
      4. There is a plan to return the child to this state within a limited period of time, unless the plan is to achieve proximity to the child's permanent planning family.
      5. Placement is in a facility licensed in accordance with the rules of the state in which the facility operates; and
      6. The child placed under a dependency or CHINS order is not placed in an out-of-state locked facility.
    9. The assigned CA social worker does not require Regional Administrator approval for placements of children into specialized out-of-state facilities from out-of-state foster care or relative placements when the department continues to consider the home from which the child has been removed to be the child's permanent placement.
    10. When the state of Washington pays for services, the regional contracts coordinator or other regional staff assigned by the Regional Administrator must negotiate a written child-specific purchase of service agreement between the department and the facility. This agreement must conform to form, content, and approval required by the CA Division of Management Services.