Case Support

Commonly Asked Questions

To contact the Incarcerated Parents Project for case assistance, please complete this brief online intake form, or please email D’Adre Cunningham at dadre@defensenet.org or call her at (206) 623-4321.  **Please note that IPP responds to technical case assistance questions on Tuesdays and Fridays.**

 

Finding Information

My loved one is incarcerated in Washington State, how do I find my incarcerated loved one?

I know my attorney’s name, how do I find that particular attorney’s contact information?  Use the legal directory drop-down menu, here?

The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) maintains an updated database of attorney licensed to practice law statewide and their contact information.

I know the county where my court case is happening, how do I find the address for the court or court clerk?

The Washington State Courts webpage maintains the list of contact information for WA State courts and organizations relate to official court business.

I know that my attorney is a public defender, how do I contact the state or federal public defender office?

The state link includes a list of public defender offices who provide indigent defense across Washington state.  Some counties and cities have hired independent contractors to provide indigent defense services in their courts.

If you do not find the defender office serving the court, where you or someone you care about has a court hearing, please contact the court in which the charges are filed.

How can I find legal help?

For help identifying your legal problem, please see General Legal information

To find  learn more about a court case or about your legal rights, please visit the Washington State Public Law and Justice Computer Center.

To find free, low-cost, or reduced cost legal assistance in Washington State, please visit:

 

Visiting with Children While Incarcerated

My loved one is incarcerated in Washington State, how do I find out the rules for visiting with minor children?

Please note that one must look at the specific facility rules to determine what’s needed to get visits started. The Washington State Department of Corrections runs all Washington State prisons and offers multiple methods for maintaining contact between children and their incarcerated parents, including email, e-cards, telephone calls, video calls, and a variety of in-person visits.

 

Child Welfare FAQs

If I have an open dependency court case, can I have a lawyer at public expense represent me?  How do I find out my lawyer’s name and contact information?

If you are a parent or legal guardian or legal custodian of a minor child and someone files a dependency petition (case) against you, you are entitled to be represented by an attorney.  You may have a lawyer provided to you at public expense if you are indigent.   The Washington State Office of Public Defense (State OPD) Parents Representation Program administers the contracts and funding for attorneys representing parents in child welfare proceedings in all 39 counties in WA State.   For information about your attorney’s name and contact information, please contact State OPD for assistance.

The American Bar Association (ABA) has compiled a state-by-state resource for parents to know their rights in a child welfare proceedings.

Here is a glossary of terms of commonly used child welfare legal terms compiled by the Incarcerated Parents Project Attorney from other publicly available resources at Partners for Our Children and Child Welfare Information Gateway.

If I am involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) but there is no court case, can I have a lawyer represent me?

Yes.  You may hire and bring an attorney to meetings with CPS.  However, a lawyer generally will not be provided to you at public expense.  If your CPS investigation is related to a possible criminal charge, you are entitled to legal advice while you are under criminal investigation when you are in custody.  You also have the right to remain silent as to any criminal investigation.   See How can I find legal help? above.

If I am an incarcerated parent, how do I change my child support order?

This fact sheet provides general information on  changing a child support order in Washington State. Also Washington State Department of Social & Health Services provides this brochure on what to expect regarding a child support order when you are in prison, here.

 

ICE-detained Parents FAQs

I am a not a citizen of the United States and I am a parent.  I am concerned about what will happen to my children if I am detained or deported?

I am a not a citizen of the United States, but I’m concerned about being able to keep living here.  How do I find a lawyer for my immigration case?     See also Washington Defender Association’s Immigration Project.

I am not a citizen of the United States and I am a parent.  I want to prepare a plan in case I am unexpectedly arrested on criminal charges or detained by immigration officials.

What if my family needs to make arrangements for someone other than the parents to care for the child(ren) in their absence?

For resources for parents and non-parental caregivers planning for a temporary or brief parental absence or planning in case of emergency, please look at Northwest Justice Project’s Children Safety Planning & Temporary Parental Consent Agreements.

For resources for parents and non-parental caregivers planning for a long-term absence or planning in case of emergency, please look at Northwest Justice Project’s Non-parents caring for childrenNon-parent custody.

For resources designed to help non-citizens plan for unexpected criminal arrests or civil immigration detention, please look at Northwest Justice Project’s Resources for Immigrants.

 

Incarcerated Parents & Family Law  FAQs

I am or my loved one is incarcerated and my relationship with the other parent is ending,  what are my parenting rights now? 

There are several know your rights publications available depending upon whether you are married or unmarried.  If you are unmarried, please see Northwest Justice Project’s publications on Washington Parenting Law for Unmarried Couples who are Separating & Parentage and Parenting Plans for Unmarried Parents in Washington.

If you are married, please see Northwest Justice Project’s publications on Dissolution (Divorce) When the Wife is Pregnant, Ending Your Marriage or Domestic Partnership in Washington with Children: The Basics.

For considerations affecting same sex couples, please see Legal Voice’s Parenting Issues for Same Sex Couples. Please note this area of law has changed dramatically in the past decade and continues to do so. It is also advised to seek legal advice from family law practitioners with expertise in this area.

If I am an incarcerated parent, how do I change my child support order?

This fact sheet provides general information on  changing a child support order in Washington State. Also Washington State Department of Social & Health Services provides this brochure on what to expect regarding a child support order when you are in prison, here.

 

To contact the Incarcerated Parents Project for case assistance, please complete this brief online intake form, or please email D’Adre Cunningham at dadre@defensenet.org or call her at (206) 623-4321.  **Please note that IPP responds to technical case assistance questions on Tuesdays and Fridays.**