The law allows the state to step in and protect a child from abuse and/or neglect in a procedure known as a dependency action. The law that applies to dependency actions is found at RCW Chapter 13.34.
A dependency action begins when a petition (a written request) is filed in Superior Court. In Thurston County, dependency cases are heard at Family and Juvenile Court.
This petition must allege that the child is "dependent."
A "dependent child" is one who:
- Has been abandoned by his or her parent, guardian, or other custodian;
- Has been abused or neglected by a person legally responsible for his or her care; or
- Has no parent, guardian, or custodian capable of providing adequate care.