Negligent treatment or maltreatment — Offer of services — Evidence of substance abuse — In-home services — Initiation of dependency proceedings.
(1) If the department, upon investigation of a report that a child has been abused or neglected as defined in this chapter, determines that the child has been subject to negligent treatment or maltreatment, the department may offer services to the child's parents, guardians, or legal custodians to: (a) Ameliorate the conditions that endangered the welfare of the child; or (b) address or treat the effects of mistreatment or neglect upon the child.
(2) When evaluating whether the child has been subject to negligent treatment or maltreatment, evidence of a parent's substance abuse as a contributing factor to a parent's failure to provide for a child's basic health, welfare, or safety shall be given great weight.
(3) If the child's parents, guardians, or legal custodians are available and willing to participate on a voluntary basis in in-home services, and the department determines that in-home services on a voluntary basis are appropriate for the family, the department may offer such services.
(4) In cases where the department has offered appropriate and reasonable services under subsection (1) of this section, and the parents, guardians, or legal custodians refuse to accept or fail to obtain available and appropriate treatment or services, or are unable or unwilling to participate in or successfully and substantially complete the treatment or services identified by the department, the department may initiate a dependency proceeding under chapter 13.34 RCW on the basis that the negligent treatment or maltreatment by the parent, guardian, or legal custodian constitutes neglect. When evaluating whether to initiate a dependency proceeding on this basis, the evidence of a parent's substance abuse as a contributing factor to the negligent treatment or maltreatment shall be given great weight.
(5) Nothing in this section precludes the department from filing a dependency petition as provided in chapter 13.34 RCW if it determines that such action is necessary to protect the child from abuse or neglect.
(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create in any person an entitlement to services or financial assistance in paying for services or to create judicial authority to order the provision of services to any person or family if the services are unavailable or unsuitable or if the child or family is not eligible for such services.
[2005 c 512 § 6.]
| Finding -- Intent -- Effective date -- Short title -- 2005 c 512: See notes following RCW 26.44.100.|