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WAC 388-148-0123

Agency filings affecting this section

What are my reporting responsibilities when a child is missing from care?

(1) As soon as you have reason to know a child in your care is missing as defined in WAC 388-148-0010, or has refused to return to or remain in your care, or whose whereabouts are otherwise unknown, you or your staff are required to notify the following:
(a) The child's assigned social worker, if the child is in the department's custody;
(b) CA intake, if the social worker is not available or it is after normal business hours; or
(c) The case manager if the child is placed by a child-placing agency program.
(2) You or your staff are required to contact local law enforcement if the child is missing as defined in WAC 388-148-0010 within six hours. However, if one or more of the following factors are present, you must contact law enforcement immediately:
(a) The child has been, or is believed to have been, taken from placement as defined in WAC 388-148-0010;
(b) The child has been, or is believed to have been, lured from placement or to have left placement under circumstances that indicate the child may be at risk of physical or sexual assault or exploitation;
(c) The child is age thirteen or younger;
(d) The child has one or more physical or mental health conditions that if not treated daily will place the child at severe risks;
(e) The child is pregnant or parenting and the infant/child is believed to be with him or her;
(f) The child has severe emotional problems (e.g., suicidal ideations) that if not treated will place the child at severe risk;
(g) The child has a developmental disability that impairs the child's ability to care for him/herself;
(h) The child has a serious alcohol and/or substance abuse problem; or
(i) The child is at risk due to circumstances unique to that child.
After contacting local law enforcement, the Washington State Patrol's (WSP) Missing Children Clearinghouse must also be contacted and informed that the child is missing from care. The telephone number for the Clearinghouse is 1 (800) 543-5678.
(3) If the child leaves school or has an unauthorized absence from school, the caregiver should consult with the social worker to assess the situation and determine when law enforcement should be called. If any of the factors listed in subsections (2)(a) through (h) of this section are present, the caregiver and the social worker may decide it is appropriate to delay notification to law enforcement for up to four hours after the end of the school day to give the child the opportunity to return on their own.
(4) The caregiver will provide the following information to law enforcement and to the social worker when making a missing child report, if available:
(a) When the child left;
(b) Where the child left from;
(c) What the child was wearing;
(d) Any known behaviors or interactions that may have precipitated the child's departure;
(e) Any possible places the child may go to;
(f) Any special physical or mental health conditions or medications that affect the child's safety;
(g) Any known companions who may be aware of and involved in the child's absence;
(h) Other professionals, relatives, significant adults or peers who may know where the child would go; and
(i) A recent photo of the child.
(5) The caregiver should obtain the number of the missing person report and provide that number to CA staff.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.15.030, 74.08.090, and chapters 74.13 and 74.15 RCW. WSR 06-22-030, ยง 388-148-0123, filed 10/25/06, effective 11/25/06.]