Child abuse and/or neglect are very serious crimes. Neglect, abuse, and abandonment are all considered “mistreatment” in Washington State. It’s important to note that child abuse can also fall under domestic violence as well.
How Child Abuse and Neglect Cases Are Handled
In the state of Washington, suspected child abuse and neglect should be reported to the Child Protective Services or to the police. You can make a report over the phone or in person. Child abuse and neglect reports need to be made within 48 hours of the suspected abuse. This is to make it easier to collect evidence proving the abuse or neglect took place.
If child abuse involving sexual abuse, physical injuries, or death is reported to the CPA, the agency is required to report the information to local law enforcement as well. If the welfare of a child is believed to be in danger, police should be notified within the first 24 hours.
Once a report has been filed – 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 guidelines for child abuse and neglect, CPS will assess the situation. This includes looking at 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 or lack of a bond between parent and child
While both parents do have the same rights to their children, a Washington State judge will not hesitate to consider terminating those parental rights if the parent poses a threat to the wellbeing of the child.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.