To adopt rules (also known as Washington Administrative Code, regulations, or WAC) all Washington state agencies must follow steps that are described in the Administrative Procedure Act. DCYF rules may be found in Title 110 WAC.
The regular rule-making steps in the APA include:
- CR-101 Preproposal Statement of Inquiry is the first official notice needed to start most rule-making actions. The CR-101 announces that DCYF is planning to write rules on a particular subject and invites the public to take part in the rule-making process.
- Publishing and mailing notices. The CR-101 and all "CR" notices below are published in the Washington State Register. DCYF mails or emails these notices to anyone who has asked to receive DCYF rule-making information and to those interested in the subject matter of the particular rule-making action.
- Drafting the rules. DCYF involves the public to help write its rules in several ways, such as forming drafting committees, sending surveys, or circulating working drafts to interested people and groups. This drafting process can take a few months to several years to complete. Some rules require DCYF to prepare financial analyses that are available to the public.
A small business economic impact statement may be prepared if the rules add new costs for small businesses. A Small Business Economic Impact Statement (SBEIS) is an analysis of the impact of a proposed rule impact on small businesses (Chapter 19.85 RCW).
- Filing a CR-102 Proposed Rule-Making Notice. This notice gives details about the rules DCYF plans to adopt, who may be affected by the rules, and includes full text of the proposed rules. The CR-102 gives the date and place of a public hearing and instructions for sending written comments about the proposed rules.
- Accepting public comments. Anyone may go to the public hearing to testify about proposed DCYF rules, offer written comments, or just listen. Most hearings are held in Olympia, Washington. For those who can't attend a hearing, sending written comments is just as effective.
- Filing a CR-103 Rule-Making Order to adopt the permanent rule. This is the last step in the rule-making process. The CR-103 notice includes the full text of the rule being adopted and lets the public know when the rules will become effective.
Other possible rule-making actions in the Administrative Procedure Act are:
- Emergency rules: DCYF may adopt temporary emergency rules if the rules are needed to prevent a threat to public safety, health or welfare, or if DCYF must meet an immediate deadline imposed by a state or federal law, a federal rule or a court decision. Emergency rules are generally effective for 120 days and may be extended in certain circumstances, but they can't become permanent unless the regular rule-making steps above are followed.
- Expedited rule-making. This shortened process allows DCYF to adopt or repeal a rule without a public hearing or comment process in very limited circumstances. A CR-105 Expedited Rule-Making notice and the full text of the proposed rule are published in the State Register. In the next 45 days, if anyone objects to the expedited process, DCYF must use the regular rule-making process to adopt the rule including holding a public hearing. But if no one objects during this period, DCYF may adopt the rule by issuing a CR-103 rule-making order.
- Rule-Making Petition. Anyone may petition DCYF to adopt, amend or repeal a rule, by sending a letter or using an available form. Petitions should be sent to the DCYF Rules Coordinator. DCYF has 60 days to either reject the petition or accept it. If the request is accepted, the regular rule-making process is started.