NCARCERATED PARENTS & FAMILY LAW FAQs
- How do I make living arrangements for my children while I am in jail or prison?
Power of Attorney for Parental caregiving (effective June 2020)
Power of Attorney (POA) for Parents (Northwest Justice Project link)
File a Minor Guardianship (external link)
Responding to Minor Guardianship (external link)
Minor Guardianship of Native American children (external link)
Minor Guardianship Law Resources (effective January 2021)
Non-Parental Custody is Changing to Minor Guardianship (external link)
Know your Rights
New Minor Guardianship Law effective January 1, 2021 Frequently Asked Questions (Administrative Office of the Courts) (external link)
- 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.
- 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 your family situation. If you are:
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.
- Are there online resources about the child welfare process?
This online resource about CPS and Dependency Actions is available for parents.
Child Welfare Glossary of Terms commonly used in child welfare cases compiled by the Incarcerated Parents Project Attorney from other publicly available resources at Partners for Our Children and Child Welfare Information Gateway.
The American Bar Association (ABA) has compiled a state-by-state resource for parents to know their rights in a child welfare proceedings.
- If I have an open child welfare (dependency) court case, can I have a lawyer at public expense represent me?
Yes. 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 cannot afford to hire one. 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.
- How do I find out my child welfare (dependency) lawyer’s name and contact information?
For information about your attorney’s name and contact information, please contact State OPD for assistance.
- 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 an attorney 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. Washington State provides criminal defense lawyers at public expense on a county-by-county basis. In King County, please contact the King County Department of Public Defense to find out if legal assistance is available before filing.
ICE-DETAINED PARENTS FAQs
For more information on this issue, please also contact Washington Defender Association’s Immigration Project.
- I am a not a citizen of the United States and I am a parent, and 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?
- I am not a citizen of the United States and I am a parent. I want to prepare a plan for my children in case I am unexpectedly arrested on criminal charges or detained by ICE.
- 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 children & Non-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.
**Please note that WDA IPP does not provide legal advice or legal representation, only legal information and legal referrals.