SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL NO. 5214
C 022 L 89
State of Washington 51st Legislature 1989 Regular Session
By Senate Committee on Children & Family Services (originally sponsored by Senator Smith)
Read first time 2/17/89.
AN ACT Relating to abuse and neglect reporting; and reenacting and amending RCW 26.44.030.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1. Section 1, chapter 39, Laws of 1988 and section 2, chapter 142, Laws of 1988 and RCW 26.44.030 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
(1) When any practitioner, professional school personnel, registered or licensed nurse, social service counselor, psychologist, pharmacist, licensed or certified child care providers or their employees, employee of the department, or juvenile probation officer has reasonable cause to believe that a child or adult dependent or developmentally disabled person has suffered abuse or neglect, he or she shall report such incident, or cause a report to be made, to the proper law enforcement agency or to the department as provided in RCW 26.44.040. The report shall be made at the first opportunity, but in no case longer than forty-eight hours after there is reasonable cause to believe that the child or adult has suffered abuse or neglect.
(2) Any other person who has reasonable cause to believe that a child or adult dependent or developmentally disabled person has suffered abuse or neglect may report such incident to the proper law enforcement agency or to the department of social and health services as provided in RCW 26.44.040.
department, upon receiving a report of an incident of abuse or neglect pursuant
to this chapter, involving a child or adult dependent or developmentally
disabled person who has died or has had physical injury or injuries inflicted upon
him or her other than by accidental means or who has been subjected to sexual
abuse, shall report such incident ((
in writing)) to the proper law
enforcement agency. In emergency cases, where the child, adult dependent,
or developmentally disabled person's welfare is endangered, the department
shall notify the proper law enforcement agency within twenty-four hours after a
report is received by the department. In all other cases, the department shall
notify the law enforcement agency within seventy-two hours after a report is
received by the department. If the department makes an oral report, a written
report shall also be made to the proper law enforcement agency within five days
(4) Any law enforcement agency receiving a report of an incident of abuse or neglect pursuant to this chapter, involving a child or adult dependent or developmentally disabled person who has died or has had physical injury or injuries inflicted upon him or her other than by accidental means, or who has been subjected to sexual abuse, shall report such incident in writing as provided in RCW 26.44.040 to the proper county prosecutor or city attorney for appropriate action whenever the law enforcement agency's investigation reveals that a crime may have been committed. The law enforcement agency shall also notify the department of all reports received and the law enforcement agency's disposition of them. In emergency cases, where the child, adult dependent, or developmentally disabled person's welfare is endangered, the law enforcement agency shall notify the department within twenty-four hours. In all other cases, the law enforcement agency shall notify the department within seventy-two hours after a report is received by the law enforcement agency.
(5) Any county prosecutor or city attorney receiving a report under subsection (4) of this section shall notify the victim, any persons the victim requests, and the local office of the department, of the decision to charge or decline to charge a crime, within five days of making the decision.
(6) The department may conduct ongoing case planning and consultation with those persons or agencies required to report under this section, with consultants designated by the department, and with designated representatives of Washington Indian tribes if the client information exchanged is pertinent to cases currently receiving child protective services or department case services for the developmentally disabled. Upon request, the department shall conduct such planning and consultation with those persons required to report under this section if the department determines it is in the best interests of the child or developmentally disabled person. Information considered privileged by statute and not directly related to reports required by this section shall not be divulged without a valid written waiver of the privilege.
(7) Any case referred to the department by a physician licensed under chapter 18.57 or 18.71 RCW on the basis of an expert medical opinion that child abuse, neglect, or sexual assault has occurred and that the child's safety will be seriously endangered if returned home, the department shall file a dependency petition unless a second licensed physician of the parents' choice believes that such expert medical opinion is incorrect. If the parents fail to designate a second physician, the department may make the selection. If a physician finds that a child has suffered abuse or neglect but that such abuse or neglect does not constitute imminent danger to the child's health or safety, and the department agrees with the physician's assessment, the child may be left in the parents' home while the department proceeds with reasonable efforts to remedy parenting deficiencies.
(8) Persons or agencies exchanging information under subsection (6) of this section shall not further disseminate or release the information except as authorized by state or federal statute. Violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor.
(9) Upon receiving reports of abuse or neglect, the department or law enforcement agency may interview children. The interviews may be conducted on school premises, at day-care facilities, at the child's home, or at other suitable locations outside of the presence of parents. Parental notification of the interview shall occur at the earliest possible point in the investigation that will not jeopardize the safety or protection of the child or the course of the investigation. Prior to commencing the interview the department or law enforcement agency shall determine whether the child wishes a third party to be present for the interview and, if so, shall make reasonable efforts to accommodate the child's wishes. Unless the child objects, the department or law enforcement agency shall make reasonable efforts to include a third party in any interview so long as the presence of the third party will not jeopardize the course of the investigation.
(10) Upon receiving a report of incidents, conditions, or circumstances of child abuse and neglect, the department shall have access to all relevant records of the child in the possession of mandated reporters and their employees.
(11) The department shall maintain investigation records and conduct timely and periodic reviews of all cases constituting abuse and neglect. The department shall maintain a log of screened-out nonabusive cases.
(12) The department of social and health services shall, within funds appropriated for this purpose, use a risk assessment tool when investigating child abuse and neglect referrals. The tool shall be used, on a pilot basis, in three local office service areas. The department shall, within funds appropriated for this purpose, offer enhanced community-based services to persons who are determined not to require further state intervention.
department shall report to the ways and means committees of the senate and
house of representatives on the use of the tool by December 1, ((
The report shall include recommendations on the continued use and possible
expanded use of the tool.
(13) Upon receipt of such report the law enforcement agency may arrange to interview the person making the report and any collateral sources to determine if any malice is involved in the reporting.