6610. Record Purge

Approval:   Connie Lambert-Eckel, Assistant Secretary 

Original Date:   

Revised Date: July 1, 2018 

Policy Review: July 1, 2021


Purpose

To provide direction to Children’s Administration (CA) staff when requests are made to expunge or destroy child welfare records. The expungement process takes place to:

  • Protect the privacy of individuals and other sensitive information
  • Allegations and reports of non-accidental injury, neglect, death, and sexual abuse of children by their parents or other caregivers acting in loco parentis.  
  • To safeguard against arbitrary, malicious, or erroneous information or actions.  

Scope

This policy applies to CA staff.  

Laws

RCW 26.44.031 Records, Maintenance and Disclosure, Destruction of Screened-Out, Unfounded, or Inconclusive Reports, Proceedings for Enforcement 

Policy

  1. When receiving a request from a client to expunge their records, CA staff will send the request to the Public Disclosure Unit. The Public Disclosure Unit will forward the request to the agency expungement officer.
  2. The agency expungement officer will:
    1.  Review the case record to see if the record is eligible for expungement. It is eligible if it involves:
      1. A screened-out report made at least three years prior to the request for expungement.
      2. An unfounded or inconclusive report made at least six years prior to the request for expungement, and
      3. No prior or subsequent founded report has been received regarding the child who is the victim of the report, a sibling or half-sibling of the child, or a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child.
    2.  If the record is eligible for expungement, submit the request for expungement to the CA Help Desk within 30 calendar days of the expungement request. 
    3. Notify the client when their record is expunged or send a letter to the client explaining why the case file will not be expunged if the case record does not meet the expungement requirements.
    4. Document the notification to the client about the outcome of their request in Public Disclosure Tracking System.