As of November 1, 2023, most juveniles will no longer have to register as a sex offender and be eligible to seal their convictions. Law enforcement will start removing eligible people from the registry soon and mailing letters confirming they have been removed. If you receive a letter indicating that you have been removed from the registry, please contact our office for a free consultation to determine if you are eligible to seal your offense.

Helping You Protect Your Future

Photo of attorneys Muth, Ciecko, Atwood and Findley around a conference table

Protecting families regarding CPS investigations of juveniles

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Juvenile offenses |

If you’re a Washington parent whose child is facing accusations of violence or criminal activity, it’s imperative that you understand your family’s rights, especially if Child Protective Services (CPS) becomes involved. There are certain things that CPS workers can do (some which may surprise you) and others they cannot do. If your teenage son or daughter is under CPS investigation, it may have an impact on the rest of your household as well.

Many juveniles who commit crimes come from troubled backgrounds. For example, a teenager getting into trouble on the streets might have a parent at home who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. When CPS investigates a minor, the goal is to determine if there are extenuating issues contributing to his or her behavior and to assist parents in getting their kids help when needed.

CPS can conduct investigations of juveniles without parental permission

If you have not stated that you do not want CPS interviewing your child unless you’re present, then they are allowed to do so. This is often a way to prevent parental coaching or influence during questioning. In cases where abuse is occurring in the home, it may be helpful for CPS agents to speak to a child without parents being there.

However, if you do not want your child answering CPS’ questions alone, you can go on record stating that no one is to interview your minor child unless you or the child’s other parent is present. If your child is under investigation for an alleged crime, he or she has a right to legal representation.

What if your child is home alone?

If you’re not home when CPS comes knocking, they can ask your child questions at the door. However, they cannot enter your home. Even if your child invites an agent inside, the agent may not enter if the child is the only one at home. In an emergency, CPS can call police. Both police and CPS can then enter the home and remove a child, if necessary, such as if the child is posing a danger to himself or the community.

Build a strong support network

If your child is accused of a juvenile crime, it is best to start building a network of support right from the start. Counselors, your family doctor, teachers, legal advocates and others can provide encouragement and support in many ways. If you are worried that a CPS investigation involving your minor child will place your other children at risk, do not hesitate to request literature that lists your rights, so that you can explore your options and choose the course of action that best protects your family.