Child Protective Services Attorney Washington State - PowerPoint by orj60062

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									   Introduction to Child
Welfare Law in Washington

        Tim Jaasko-Fisher, Director
    Court Improvement Training Academy

   University of Washington School of Law
    Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic
          Systems of Law

Federal System   State System
           Sources of State Law
             Washington State Constitution

Executive Branch      Legislative Branch   Judicial Branch
 -Executive Orders    - Statutes (RCW)     - Court Opinions
 -Regulations (WAC)
                                 THE SUPREME COURT
                         9 Justices with Six-year staggered terms
- All juvenile matters are reviewed at the court’s discretion
- To get reviewed, case must have constitutional issues, conflict in appellate law, or
  be of significant public importance.
                                   COURT OF APPEALS
                          Judges with Six-year staggered terms
             Division I (Seattle); Division II (Tacoma); Division III (Spokane)
- Reviews many dependency cases as a matter of right
- Some types of orders are reviewed on a discretionary basis
- Review is done “on the record”
                                 SUPERIOR COURT
              Judges with Four-year terms; Commissioners by Appointment
                         One in most every county (two in King)
- Court of General Jurisdiction       - Trial Court
- Juvenile Court                     - Domestic Relations
                         COURTS OF LIMITED JURISDICTION
                            Judges with Four-year terms
                            District and Municipal courts

-DV Protection Orders                 - Misdemeanor Criminal Cases
All abuse and neglect cases start with a referral.

- Community Members

- Mandatory Reporters
   •Law Enforcement
   •Service Providers
   •Social Workers
Most referrals do not become dependency cases.

  - Screened Out -

             -   Information Only -

                       - Alternative Response Systems -

                              - Voluntary Services / Placement -
A dependency proceeding is a process
which provides a procedural mechanism to
balance the parent’s fundamental
constitutional rights with the state’s
interest in protecting children believed to
be abused or neglected. If you understand
the process, you will be better able to serve
children and families, and can use the
process to help achieve safe, permanent
homes for kids in a timely manner.
     The Dependency Petition
• Anyone may file a petition
• The petition must address each parent,
  guardian, or custodian
• The petition must address Indian status
• The petition must allege that a child meets
  the legal definition of “dependent child”.
An Indian child is someone under
      18 years of age who:

• Is a member of a tribe OR
• Whose parents are tribal members if the
  child is eligible for membership
 A dependent child is one who:
• (a) Has been abandoned
• (b) has been abused or neglected
• (c) has no capable parent or guardian
Abandonment means: an expressed intent
by statement or conduct to forgo for an
extended periods of time parental rights or
responsibilities despite an ability to exercise
such rights.
Abuse and neglect is an injury, sexual
abuse, negligent treatment, or mal
treatment by any person under
circumstances which indicate that the
child’s health, welfare, or safety is
An incapable parent is one who:
Is unable to adequately caring for the child,
such that the child is in circumstances which
constitute a danger of substantial damage to
the child's psychological or physical
       Children May Be Taken Into
               Custody By

• court order (pick up order)

• law enforcement protective custody (PC)

• Agreement of the parent (VPA)
  To issue a pick up order, a court
             must find:
• A dependency petition and sworn
  statement supporting the pick up order has
  been filed
• There are reasonable grounds to believe
  the child’s health, safety, or welfare will be
  seriously endangered if not taken into
• There are reasonable grounds to believe
  the child is dependent
Law Enforcement may take a child
    into protective custody if
• There is probable cause to believe that the
  child is abused or neglected
• The child would be injured
• The child could not be taken into custody if
  it were necessary to first obtain a court
         Shelter Care Hearing
•   Must occur within 72 hours of placement
•   Court will appoint parents attorney
•   Court will appoint GAL / CASA
•   Court may set case conference
        Shelter Care Issues
• Were reasonable efforts made to notify
• Parents may agree to participate in
• Placement of the child
Court may order child placed out of
         home if it finds:

• Services have been offered to prevent or
  eliminate need for removal
• No parent or guardian to care for child
• Release of the child to the parent or
  guardian presents a serious threat of
  substantial harm to the child
If a court orders placement, it must
• Place with an appropriate relative if
• Place with another
  suitable person if no
  relative is available
• Review its order
  within 30 days
         Case Conferences
• Held at least 30 days prior to fact finding
• DSHS must develop a written service plan
• Information exchanged at case
  conferences may not be used at fact
       Fact Finding Hearings
• Hearing must be held within 75 days of
  petition being filed
• Only issue is whether child meets statutory
  definition of “dependent child” by a
  preponderance of the evidence
• Rules of evidence apply
• Court must enter written findings
Agreed dependency orders are
subject to approval of the court,
and the court must find that the
parent knowingly and voluntarily
entered into the agreement and
understands the consequences of
the agreement.
• May be delayed up to 14 days after fact
  finding for good cause
• Court will enter orders regarding:
  – Placement
  – Visits
  – Services
  – Permanent Plan
Court may order a disposition other
than removal from the home
If Court orders child placed out of
home, child must be placed with:
       a) relative willing and able to care
for the child whom the child has a
relationship and is comfortable
      b) licensed care
      c) other suitable person
To order out of home placement, a
         court must find:
• Reasonable efforts have been made to
  prevent removal from the home AND
• There is no parent willing or available to
  care for the child OR the court finds by
  clear, cogent, and convincing evidence
  that a manifest danger exists that the child
  will suffer serious abuse or neglect if not
Visitation with parents and siblings is
a right.
There is a presumption that visitation
is in the child’s best interest.
Visits may not be conditioned upon
compliance with services /
cooperation with DSHS
Order must set out clear requirements and
timeline for completion.
DSHS must provide all services reasonably
available within the agency or the
community, or that the department has
existing contracts to purchase.
      Permanent plans include:
•   Return home
•   Adoption
•   Guardianship
•   Permanent legal custody
•   Long term relative or foster care
•   Responsible living skills program
•   Independent living / Emancipation
  Modification of orders requires the filing of a
  motion which makes a threshold showing of a
  change in circumstances.


If you want the judge to change the rules in the
case, you have to show that something in the case
is different since the last time the judge set out
the rules.
          Review Hearings
• Held every 6 months from placement
  episode or date dependency is established
  whichever is sooner.

• 1st review must be
within 90 days of dispo.
   What does a court consider at a
          review hearing?
• Have reasonable services been offered to facilitate
• Is the child placed in the least restrictive setting with
• Is there a continuing need for placement?
• Have all parties complied with the case plan?
• Has progress been made toward correcting parental
• Have parents visited and if not, why?
• Are additional services necessary?
• When will the perm. plan be achieved?
Permanency Planning Hearings
• Held every 9-12 months from date of
• Court will consider the
  same matters as for
  a review and will review
  the permanent plan
            Permanent plans
•   Return home
•   Adoption
•   Guardianship
•   Permanent legal custody
•   Long term relative or foster care
•   Responsible living skills program
•   Emancipation
             Return Home
• Court must find parent is compliant with
  case plan, court orders, and treatment to
  order a child returned home.

• Child must be returned home under court
  supervision for 6 months prior to dismissal
  of the case.
   Termination of Parental Rights /

• Prior to adoption all parents rights must be
  terminated or relinquished.

• A termination petition starts a separate but
  related action from the dependency.
 In a termination case, the state
 must prove by clear, cogent, and
    convincing evidence that:
• The child is dependent
• A disposition plan has been entered
• The child has been removed from the
  parent’s custody pursuant to an order of
  dependency for 6 months
           Termination (cont)
• All services ordered and all necessary services
  reasonably available have been offered or
• Little likelihood that parent will remedy parental
  deficiencies in the near future
• Continuation of parent-child relationship
  diminishes child’s prospects for early integration
  into a permanent and stable home
         Termination (cont)
• Court must find all 6 factors by clear,
  cogent, and convincing evidence
• Court must also find by a preponderance
  of the evidence that
  termination of parental
  rights is in the child’s
  best interest.
    Dependency Guardianship
• Court must make same findings as in
  Termination of parental rights by a
  preponderance of the evidence
• Court must find that guardianship, rather
  than termination of parental rights or
  continued efforts to reunify is in the child’s
  best interest
    Permanent Legal Custody
• This is a separate action
• State is not a party to the action
• Parties must hire their own lawyer
• No right to counsel by parent
• Dependency dismissed once custody
  order is entered
• Limited financial support to family
             Other Plans

• Long term foster / relative care
• Responsible living skills
• Emancipation
• 1st level is to court of appeals
  (6-9 months)

• May ask for Supreme Court review
  (2 -12 months)

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