Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

PO Box 40141
Olympia, WA 98504-0141
MS 40141


Division Chief: Carrie Wayno, Senior AAG

Overview: The Children, Youth, and Families Division is comprised of 25 attorneys and 23 professional staff who together provide advice and representation to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Staff in each Attorney General’s Office location handle litigation for DCYF, and the CYF Division has the responsibility for doing so locally, as well as coordinating this work for the AGO statewide and advising DCYF leadership.

Legal Services Provided: The CYF Division advises and represents DCYF in matters involving the operation of its early learning, child care and foster care licensing, child welfare, and juvenile rehabilitation programs, and represents DCYF in four local counties and on statewide programmatic cases. The division provides advice and representation to DCYF in matters involving the operation of its programs, including with regard to issues such as civil rights, contracts, confidentiality and disclosure, federal and state requirements, institutional education, tribal relations, Indian child welfare, rule-making, and child abuse and neglect. The division also represents DCYF in dependency, termination of parental rights, and guardianship cases in five local counties—Thurston, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason Counties, and Pacific—as well as representing DCYF in appeals of orders from these counties and in administrative appeals. In 2021, a division unit opened 220 new dependency cases (each involving one family), 78 termination of parental rights cases, and 12 guardianship cases, which were litigated by remote means, in person, and in hybrid formats. The division also opened 37 new dependency and termination of parental rights appeals in 2021 and provided appellate coordination to the other four AGO divisions representing DCYF. Division staff also regularly provide legal training to DCYF staff, coordinate trainings for AAGs representing DCYF statewide, and contribute to local and statewide stakeholder meetings and court improvement efforts.