Alert: Beginning July 1, 2018, the Department of Early Learning will become the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). After June 30, 2018, this website will no longer be updated. For the latest information on early learning, visit the DCYF website at

Laws on Child Abuse and Neglect


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At the Department of Early Learning (DEL), we work every day to promote a child-friendly Washington where children are safe and healthy. State laws regarding child abuse and neglect are meant to protect our youngest citizens, and are located in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).

State laws are passed by the Washington State Legislature – or by the voters if passed by an initiative – and are signed by the Governor.

Washington state child abuse and neglect laws are located in Chapter 26.44 RCW.