DUI’s, CPS and the Law
DUI’s are no doubt serious, but getting a DUI with a minor under the age of 16 in the vehicle is even more serious. Not only do the punitive consequences increase significantly, Washington’s Child Protective Services (CPS) will also get involved.
Why Caseworkers Get InvolvedThis is so because RCW 46.61.507 requires that any time a person is arrested for DUI and there is a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle, CPS must be notified. The purpose of the CPS referral is not so much as to remove the child from parental custody, but rather to perform a child welfare check.
Shortly after the CPS referral is made, a CPS caseworker will contact the driver for purposes of conducting an interview and a child home welfare check. This first contact is usually made within 24-48 hours of the arrest with the home visit scheduled as shortly thereafter as possible. The CPS caseworker will interview the parents or custodians, view the home and look into the general well-being of the child.
What Happens NextIf a caseworker believes (after reviewing the police incident report and interviewing the guardians) that the statute was more likely than not violated, a finding of "founded" will be entered into the guardian's CPS file. If there have been no previous CPS referrals and the child does not appear to be in any danger, this will more often than not end the inquiry. However, if there have been previous referrals or the child does appear to be in harm's way, the investigation will continue and further CPS action may follow.