This act amends RCW 26.44.180 to include investigations regarding online and commercial sexual exploitation of minors, child fatality, child physical abuse, and criminal child neglect cases. Each agency investigating these cases must document its role and how it will coordinate with other local agencies or systems, while also requiring written protocols for handling of investigations.
These protocols shall also address the coordination of these criminal investigations among multidisciplinary child protection team members, including:
- Representatives from the prosecutor’s office;
- Law enforcement;
- Children’s Protective Services;
- Children’s advocacy centers;
- Local advocacy groups;
- Community sexual assault programs; and
- Licensed physical and mental health practitioners.
SB 5461 includes a section added to RCW 26.44 which instructs that team members of a criminal child abuse investigation may share information and case planning with other participants in the multidisciplinary coordination, while being subjected to privacy and confidentiality obligations and penalties. Furthermore, multidisciplinary child protection team members must execute a confidentiality agreement annually.