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Whatcom County Coordinated Response: 

Domestic Violence, Children and Child Maltreatment

What is the Whatcom County Coordinated Response Protocol?

The protocol is a document intended to:


  • Provide guidance and procedural direction for law enforcement agencies, courts, Child Protective Services (CPS) workers and service providers when responding to domestic violence in relationships where there are children and the children may be subject to maltreatment      
  • Ensure that all agencies or authorities responding to or working on such a case share appropriate information, make informed decisions, and act with a coordinated effort to maximize safety for victims and children while holding abusers accountable
  • Be updated and improved over time as it is implemented, with an evaluation component to determine if the processes identified in the protocol are effective or in need of further development.
  • Give each agency or institution working in this area information on the best practices for handling cases involving both domestic violence and CPS involvement
  • Provide direction on where additional information can be gathered or who to contact in other agencies when a case requires action.


Why has this protocol been created?

The protocol has been developed as part of a statewide effort begun under the auspices of Washington State Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge, Washington State Children's Administration, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Washington State CASA, the Washington State Attorney General and the State Office for Public Defense. In Region 3, which encompasses Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan and portions of Snohomish County, the leadership role has been filled by Judge Charles Snyder of the Whatcom County Superior Court.


Why is this document important?

The agencies that participated in the development of this document agree to implement this protocol as a guide to their practice in this area. To the extent that it is followed, it is the hope of all who have helped create it that this document will improve the official response to cases involving domestic violence and child maltreatment, that families will experience an increased level of safety, children will be able to remain with supportive and protective parents, and that there will be an enhanced capacity to hold abusers accountable for their violence.



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