Child Abuse, Neglect, & Abandonment
In Washington State, “mistreatment” includes any form of child neglect, abuse, or abandonment. These are very serious crimes that require prompt action and resolution. If you have knowledge or suspicion of child endangerment in Washington State, here is what you can expect once you take action.
How CPS & Police Authorities Handle Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington State
Child endangerment laws exist to protect children in abusive or neglectful situations. In the state of Washington, you should report any suspicion of child endangerment to Child Protective Services or the police. You can make a report over the phone or in person. These reports need to be made within 48 hours of the suspected abuse. This makes it easier to collect evidence that proves the abuse or neglect took place.
If someone reports sexual abuse, physical injuries, or death to the CPA, the agency is required to report the information to local law enforcement as well. If the child’s welfare is believed to be in danger, police should be notified within the first 24 hours.
Upon receiving a report of child abuse or child neglect, Washington State police will conduct an investigation against the perpetrator. CPS, on the other hand, will look into the current family situation. If the responding police officer believes the child is in immediate danger, they can take the child and place them in protective custody. CPS can also remove the child and place them with a relative or in the foster care system.
How Long Does Protective Custody Last?
Protective custody only lasts for 72 hours, unless it has been court-ordered.
After an evaluation by CPS and the police, if it is believed the case meets Washington State child abuse and neglect guidelines, CPS will assess the situation. This includes looking at the risks, strengths, and needs of the family to create a treatment plan.
Will Washington State Limit an Abusive Parent’s Time with Their Children?
Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse may sway a judge to limit the amount of time a parent is able to spend with their child.
Other reasons a judge might limit visitation time:
- Neglecting to care for the child
- History of domestic violence
- History of sex crimes involving children
- History of emotional or physical problems
- History of drug and/or alcohol abuse
Extended Absence Between Parent and Child
Abandonment is a form of child neglect that occurs when a parent does not communicate with their child for an extended period of time. While both parents do have the same rights to their children, Washington State child abandonment laws allow a judge to consider terminating those parental rights if the parent’s neglectful behavior poses a threat to the child’s wellbeing.
Get Support from an Experienced Washington State Child Abuse Attorney
Unfortunately, family law cases involving custody and divorce may also involve neglect and abuse. If your spouse or partner is abusive to your child (or children), or you suspect child neglect, a Washington State family lawyer can help. At LaCoste Law, we have experience in divorce, custody, and child abuse, and we want to help protect both you and your child.
Contact us via our website, or email us at email@example.com, or give us a call at (509) 392-8000 to schedule your free consultation with a child abuse attorney in Washington State. We look forward to discussing your case with you and creating the best possible outcome for your unique situation.