News Release: Update on Echo Glen Critical Incident Response

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Feb. 3, 2022

Update on Echo Glen Critical Incident Response

Olympia, WA – On the morning of Jan. 26, 2022, at around 7:30 a.m., five youth escaped from a medium/maximum security unit at Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie, Washington.

Echo Glen staff immediately contacted law enforcement, and warrants were issued. Within 20 minutes of the incident, the campus was secured, and all other youth on the campus were accounted for.

To date, four of the five youth have been apprehended and are in custody. The car used in the escape has also been recovered.

The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) has been actively working with the King County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement partners in the ongoing investigation and search efforts. 

A Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), comprised of people from outside facility management, assembled on Jan. 26, the day of escape, to address risk, determine root causes, and review the situation.

While the root cause analysis is still underway, the agency has taken the following actions in response to the CIRT review:

  • Electric carts have replaced vehicles used by security and health center staff on campus.
  • Uniforms are required for maximum security youth.
  • There has been an increase in security rounds.
  • A single point of entry has been established.
  • Video system replacement is underway.
  • On-campus notification processes have been improved.
  • Among others.

A number of security changes have been in progress for some time, including:

  • Initiation of gate replacement with a secure, cantilevered, sliding, key-card-controlled, video-activated gate. This has been in progress since April 2021, and the expected installation date is Feb. 8. Gates like this are custom fabricated and not available as stock items.
  • A significant upgrade to the training protocol for new employees, including a five-week training academy.
  • Modernization of physical intervention and de-escalation protocol, including staff training in best practices.
  • A deep-dive security audit that has been planned for several months will start this month.

Reviews and administrative investigations are ongoing and will result in additional recommendations and policy and procedural changes.  

Echo Glen Children’s Center is home to DCYF’s youngest juvenile rehabilitation population up to the age of 17 and is designed to be a therapeutic environment for young people. It aims to enable them to safely return to their communities with stable education, employment, and housing connections.



Jason Wettstein, Director of Communications | 360-464-0294 |