Individuals with a founded finding of child abuse or neglect made by the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) or a Washington State court may now apply to work in an assisted living facility or nursing home, provide long-term care services, or seek unsupervised access under a DCYF program such as child care or foster care.
The new program, Certificate of Parental Improvement (CPI), is aimed at reducing disproportionality. CPI was created in response to House Bill 1645, passed in 2020, which required DCYF to create this program by Jan. 1, 2021.
Prior to this program, individuals with a founded finding of child abuse or neglect that fell under RCW 26.44.020 or RCW 13.34.030(6)(b) were barred from working at assisted living facilities, nursing homes, long-term care services, or unsupervised access to children since this came up during the background process.
DCYF created a webpage for CPI where an individual may:
- Complete the online CPI request form or access the manual form in other languages.
- Complete the online background check required to determine eligibility for a CPI or for information on how to submit the background check form manually.
- Access frequently asked questions about CPI.
- Contact the DCYF CPI program.
DCYF began accepting CPI requests in December 2020 and issued its first certificate on Jan. 11, 2021.
“I just finished going through the CPI process with DCYF. While getting into the past can be difficult and scary, DCYF made the process super easy,” said one applicant. “I never felt like I was being judged. My understanding is that I am one of the first people to apply for and get a CPI. Even with that, DCYF never made it feel like I was a problem. Thank you for all the time and effort put into this.”
DCYF, in collaboration with stakeholders, aims to create a CPI process that:
- Reduces disproportional impacts of founded findings.
- Meets the best interests of children, youth, and vulnerable adults in these programs.
- Ensures consistency and recognizes unique circumstances and changed behavior.
Stakeholders included parent advocates from ACLU, Office of Public Defense, Northwest Justice Project, child placing agencies, child care advocates, the Early Learning Advisory Committee, Head Start, SEIU, Administrative Office of the Courts, DSHS, foster parent advocates, Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds, and Washington Tribes.
This work highlights the fact that people can and do change. It recognizes their past and assesses who they are today so they may flourish in the future.