Privacy Notice

Section A. Introduction

Thank you for visiting the Department of Social and Health Services' website and reviewing our privacy notice. This notice addresses the collection, use and security of, and access to information that may be shared through your use of this website. This notice covers the following topics:

NOTE: For information on the privacy practices regarding client protected health information go to  Notice of Privacy Practices for Client Medical Information.

Section B. Information Collected and How it is used

What information we collect if you only browse this site.

If you only browse, read pages, or download information, we automatically collect and store the following information about your visit:

  1. A portion of the internet protocol address and domain name used. The IP address is a numerical identifier assigned either to your internet service provider or directly to your computer. We use the IP address to direct internet traffic to you. This address can be translated to determine the domain name of your service provider (e.g. or;
  2. The type of browser and operating system you used;
  3. The date and time you visited this site;
  4. The webpages or services you accessed at this website; and
  5. The website you visited prior to coming to this website.

This information does not identify you personally. It is logged and used by DSHS only to improve the content of our web services and to help us understand how people are using our services. DSHS analyzes the website logs to determine how our website is being used, so we may continually improve the website's usefulness to the public.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, DSHS supported computer systems employ software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations and the security purposes mentioned elsewhere in this notice, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Raw data logs used for no other purposes are scheduled for regular destruction according to public records retention schedules (Chapter 40.14 RCW).

What information we collect if you volunteer it.

If during your visit to our website you send us an email, we collect the contents of your email message (including audio, video and graphics information) along with your return email address. We use this information to respond directly to you, address the issues you identify in your email, further improve our website or forward it to another agency for appropriate action. The information is retained according to Chapter 40.14 RCW, Preservation and Destruction of Public Records.

If you participate in a survey, information we collect is used to make improvements to the website and collect demographic information on website use.

If you perform some other transaction online, information we collect will be used solely for the purpose outlined on the form.

Section C. Personal Information and Choice

You may choose to provide personal information online. “Personal information” is information about a person that is readily identifiable to that specific individual. Personal information includes such things as an individual‘s name, address, and phone number.A domain name or IP address is not considered personal information.

We do not collect personal information about you unless you voluntarily provide it to us by sending us an email, participating in a survey, or completing an online form. If you choose not to participate in these activities, you are still able to browse the DSHS website and read or download any information from it.

The DSHS websites are accessible by any internet user. We do not knowingly collect any personal information from children. Users are cautioned that the collection of personal information requested from or volunteered by children online or by email is treated the same as information given by an adult.

Section D. Public access to information

In Washington state, laws exist to ensure that government is open and that the public has a right to access appropriate records and information processes by state government. At the same time, there are exceptions to the public’s right to access public records that serve various needs and may include the privacy of individuals. Exceptions to disclosure requirements are contained in state and federal laws.

All of the information collected at this website becomes public record and may be subject to inspection and copying by the public, unless an exemption in law exists. RCW 42.56.070(1) states:

Each agency, according to published rules, must make available for public inspection and copying all public records, unless the record falls within the specific exemptions of the Public Records Act, or other statute which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records.

If the information is exempt by law, an agency must delete identifying details in a manner consistent with RCW 42.56.210(1) or other law when it makes available or publishes any public record but it must explain the basis for the deletion in writing.

In the event of a conflict between this Privacy Notice and the Public Records Act or other law governing the agency’s disclosure of records, the Public Records Act or other applicable law will control.

Section E. Cookies

To better serve our users we may use “cookies” to customize your browsing experience with the DSHS website. Cookies are simple text files stored on your computer by your web browser.

Cookies created on your computer by using this website do not contain personal information and do not compromise your privacy or security. We use the cookie feature only to store a randomly generated identifying tag on your computer. You can refuse the cookie or delete the cookie file from your computer by using any of the widely available methods.

Section F. Security

DSHS, as manager and developer of this website, has taken several steps to safeguard the integrity of its data and prevent unauthorized access to information maintained by DSHS.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this website remains available to all users, DSHS employs software to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage to this website. These measures are designed and intended to prevent corruption of data, block unknown or unauthorized access to our systems and information, and to provide reasonable protection of private information in our possession.

Unauthorized attempts to upload, change or destroy information on this website are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under State Law (RCW 9A.52.110) and federal statutes including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.

Section G. Disclaimer

DSHS provides internet links to websites of public and private organizations. When you link to this new website, you are no longer on the DSHS website and this Privacy Notice does not apply. When you link to another website, you are subject to the privacy policy of that new website.

Reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the State of Washington, DSHS, or its officers, employees, or agents.

Please be aware that we do not create and maintain these sites and therefore, are not responsible for the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or security of the information presented at websites outside of DSHS.

DSHS reserves the right to revise and update this Privacy Notice at anytime without notice by posting the revised Privacy Notice on the DSHS internet site.

Section H. DSHS Contact Information

DSHS maintains this website to enhance public access to information about the department's services. While we make every effort to keep this information as timely and current as possible, errors can occur. To correct errors or offer comments about this website contact the DSHS Webmaster.

To address or ask about a privacy issue you may email your comments or concerns to:

Or you may contact the DSHS privacy officer by writing, faxing or calling as noted below:

DSHS Privacy Officer
PO Box 45135
Olympia WA 98504-5135
FAX (360) 902-7855
Phone (360) 902-8278