This act amends the additional factors that shall be considered in a shelter care hearing by amending RCW 13.34.065 subsection (7)(a). Specifically, the legislature intends to facilitate the timely resolution of dependency cases, minimize further potential harm to families, and ensure that the child’s best interests are a priority by practicing early identification of barriers.
Therefore, a child may not be placed in shelter care for longer than 30 days without an order signed by the court after considering:
- The names and current contact information for all parties and their representatives;
- The status of notices to parents, guardians, or legal custodians of the child;
- The status and results of any paternity testing;
- An update regarding whether the child is an Indian child and has any provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act apply;
- A determination as to whether all safety threats to the child can be managed or controlled and allow the child to return home safely;
- Providing the names and information regarding any additional relatives or other suitable adults willing to provide assistance as a placement, with sibling or parental visitation, respite support, and transportation support;
- The current status of any background checks or home studies;
- Any changes in placement since prior court orders;
- The current status of parental and sibling visitation;
- The current educational or child care enrollment status of the child;
- Any order for examination, evaluations, or immediate services needed for the child;
- A list of services or assessments offered to the parents and the status of referrals; and
Other orders by court.
Furthermore, this act specifies that a shelter care order issued may be amended at any time with notice and hearing thereon.