Tips for Working Together for Child Safety: Child Protective Services & School Personnel

Published November 5, 2023

Tips for Working Together for Child Safety: Child Protective Services and School Personnel

Juan Guerrero and Angie Stephens-Adamek are employees of Child Protective Services (CPS), an arm of the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). Working from Wenatchee, each of them supervises individuals who investigate concerns of possible child abuse and neglect throughout Chelan and Douglas Counties. They work closely with counterparts in Grant County and Okanogan Counties.

Angie and Juan met with NCESD Behavioral Health staff to explore how they and other CPS personnel might work together with school staff to benefit children and adolescents in our region. Read on to learn of their request of school personnel and their offer to school personnel.

Their Request:

Angie and Juan would like to know of any services available for students who struggle with relationships or behavioral health issues, perhaps manifested by running away from home – offered by your school or community – that they and their staff, as well as their colleagues in other counties, can encourage students to access.

Their Offer:

Angie, Juan and their counterparts in Grant and Okanogan Counties are willing to provide mandatory reporter training to school personnel.

Of course, all school personnel, as mandatory reporters of possible child abuse and neglect, receive annual refresher training about what to report and to whom. However, our area CPS supervisors are able to go beyond basic training with tailored information about

  • Ensuring that a report is made within legal time limits and to which agency
  • Ensuring that specific additional information can be obtained by investigators if needed
  • Ensuring that investigations can be carried out with full legal compliance and in the best interest of the minor by properly trained investigators

Understanding state mandated processes that occur after a report has been made

General Tips & Reminders from Angie and Juan


Each school has someone, a counselor or administrator, to whom concerns are reported by teachers or other school employees. This point person then calls the toll free number 1-866-END HARM (1-866-363-4276).

This call MUST be made within 48 hours of the concern coming to light. Calling at the earliest possible time is best. Calls made at the end of the school day activate after-hours CPS personnel, and to ensure safety in uncertain situations, involve law enforcement accompanying investigators to homes.

This report is the responsibility of the person who received a disclosure from a child or who otherwise “has cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect” (DCYF).

Suppose a teacher reports a concern to the school point person. How can the teacher, who is responsible for making this report, be certain that the report was made?

  • If schedules permit, the teacher can be present during the call to the END HARM number.
  • The teacher can ask for the intake number provided before the call ends.
  • If the teacher has not been present for the call and has not received an intake number, they can make a separate call before the 48-hour period has ended.


CPS investigators often interview youth at school during the school day.

By law, they are allowed to do so without parental consent and without anyone else present in the room.

However, the child or teen may elect to have a school employee present for support.

The school staff person providing support must listen silently and

  • Must not interview the youth. Doing so could
    • lead to being required to testify in court
    • undermine the investigation and the youth’s safety
  • Must not interrupt the interview
  • Must not interfere in any way

Must not repeat any part of the interview to anyone


While a person who makes a report to CPS may become very curious about the outcome of the investigation, they cannot expect to be informed of the process or the outcome.

Like educators, CPS personnel must also keep their work with families confidential.

However, school personnel can be assured that

  • Within 24 hours of completing the intake, CPS personnel must render a decision that the report/allegation (call to the ENDHARM number) was
  • Founded – and interventions are implemented
    • Intervening while keeping families together if possible is a high priority
    • Removal of children and adolescents from their homes is
      • Very traumatic for them
      • Possibly more harmful than staying
      • Used only when high, imminent risk is present
  • Unfounded – the investigation did not find that neglect or abuse as described in Washington Laws Around Child Abuse and Neglect occurred
    • Support is offered to
      • Increase the safety of children and adolescents in their homes
      • Increase the families’ connections to their communities
      • Increase the skills of parents
      • Improve the families’ access to resources
  • No call to 1-866-END HARM (1-866-363-4276) is ever wasted! 
    • Records are kept, even when there is no finding
    • If subsequent calls are made, previous calls are noted

In closing, we would like to thank Angie and Juan for sharing their expertise and being available to school staff.

If you have programs within your school that may be of help to students who have relationship difficulties, CPS investigators may be able to encourage students to access them.

Please let Angie know at (509) 670-6499 or let Juan know at (509) 423-6001. To schedule staff training with a CPS Supervisor, call Angie or Juan at the numbers provided. They, or one of their colleagues in Grant or Okanogan County, will respond to your request.

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