Original Date: February 10, 1995
Revised Date: July 13, 2020
Sunset Review Date: July 13, 2024
Approved by: Jody Becker, Deputy Secretary of Programs for Children and Families
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to child welfare employees when Voluntary Placement Agreements (VPA) are needed to place children or youth in out-of-home care. VPAs are time limited and considered the least restrictive plan, when placing children or youth.
This policy applies to child welfare employees.
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 13.34.245 Voluntary consent to foster care placement for Indian children, validation, withdrawal of consent, termination
RCW 74.13.031 Duties of department, child welfare services, children’s services advisory committee
RCW 74.15.020 Definitions
- DCYF may use VPAs in the following circumstances:
- When a safety threat exists, that cannot be managed in the home, and services provided during a 90-calendar day period are likely to eliminate the need for court intervention.
- After business hours, when a safety threat exists that cannot be managed in the home and the child or youth is not placed in protective custody by law enforcement (LE).
- Parents or legal guardians need temporary care for their child or youth, while undergoing medical care or treatment and there are no alternative placement resources.
- The child or youths’ other parent or legal guardian is not immediately available to provide care.
- DCYF must not use VPAs when children or youth are placed:
- With an “other suitable person,” per RCW 13.34.130.
- Outside of Washington State.
- In out-of-home care when the youth is 18 years or older, unless they are entering or re-entering the EFC program, per the Extended Foster Care (EFC) policy.
- When it has been determined children or youth cannot remain safely in the home and a VPA is needed:
- Caseworkers must:
- Complete the VPA DCYF 9-004B form.
- Verify the timeframe in the agreement does not exceed 90 calendar days.
- Obtain both parents or legal guardians of the child or youth’s signature, unless one of the following applies:
- The other parent or legal guardian is unable to be located.
- Legal custody resides with one parent, which must be verified.
- Sign the agreement and obtain supervisor approval.
- Verify the VPA is signed in front of a judicial officer of the Tribal Court or Juvenile Court when children or youth are an Indian child at least 10 calendar days old, per ICW Chapter 6.
- Conduct a shared planning meeting, per the Family Team Decision Making (FTDM) policy.
- Complete a court report by the 60th calendar day, for children or youth in out-of-home placement on a VPA, per Court Report policy.
- Supervisors must:
- Discuss and verify the VPA requirements are met, appropriate, and in the best interest of children or youth.
- Review and verify the timeframe does not exceed 90 calendar days.
- Sign the VPA, if approved, and return to the caseworker.
- Discuss other options, if the VPA is not approved.
- Caseworkers must:
- When a child or youth is placed on a VPA, caseworkers must:
- Upload the VPA DCYF 9-004B form into FamLink, with all required signatures.
- Place the original VPA DCYF 9-004B form in the file.
- Provide a copy of the VPA DCYF 9-004B form to the parents or legal guardians.
- Document the following in FamLink:
- Efforts made to have both parents sign the VPA, in a case note.
- Child’s legal information on the Legal Records page.
- Child’s placement status on the Placement page.
- Request from the parents or legal guardians to end the VPA and the subsequent actions, in a case note.
- Link the parents to the child on the maintain page.
- If a parent terminates the VPA, caseworkers must immediately assess safety by completing the safety assessment, and determine if the child or youth:
- Can safely return home. If so, they must be returned to the parents or legal guardians within one calendar day, excluding weekends and holidays.
- Cannot safely return home. If so, DCYF must immediately complete either of the following:
- Contact LE to request placement of the child or youth in protective custody.
- File a dependency petition and request a pick-up order within one calendar day, excluding weekends and holidays.
Consent to Foster Care Placement by Indian Child's Parent or Indian Custodian court form JU 03.0920
Voluntary Placement Agreement DCYF 9-004B (located in the Forms repository on the DCYF Intranet)