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Abstract

This Note will argue that the Babcock court's application of this immunity fails to serve the traditional goals of judicial immunity and undermines the factors that should protect dependent children. This argument will develop by first considering the development of judicial immunity and the significance of the concept of functional comparability. The Note will then begin the discussion of the Babcock case with an explanation of the nature of a dependency proceeding and the duties performed by a caseworker during initiation of a dependency proceeding and during placement in foster-care. The Note will then consider the caseworker's actions in the Babcock case and that court's application of judicial immunity. It will show that the extension of judicial immunity to investigative and ministerial duties fails to fulfill the policies behind the grant of immunity. The Note will then show that the application of ordinary negligence principles would serve to protect the legitimate concerns raised by the court while providing protection to children who may be placed at risk by DSHS. The Note will conclude that the court should balance the need to protect caseworkers' decision-making ability with the need to protect the children in the state's care. The result of this balancing would allow the limited application of immunity to the initiation of a dependency proceeding and the application of traditional negligence analysis to foster-care placement.