If your child has become violent or out-of-control, but you do not want to have him/her arrested--
If the police come to your house--
What can you do to help your child?
1. Familiarize yourself with the state laws pertaining to the involuntary commitment of a child. Under certain circumstances, parents can request their child be evaluated for a mental disorder requiring inpatient treatment without the consent of the child. The relevant RCWs (state laws) are found here.
2. You can call First Call for Help [(509) 838-4428] and request that a CDMHP (County Designated Mental Health Provider) come to your home to evaluate your child.
3. You can call the police. If your child has been violent, they may place him/her under arrest. However, you can request that the police transport your child to Sacred Heart Medical Center for a mental health evaluation.
Please be aware that once the police have come to your home you may no longer have control over what happens to your child. The primary focus of the police officer/s will be the physical safety of everyone concerned, and they will do whatever they feel needs to be done to achieve that goal.
4. It is important to note that even if your child is taken to Sacred Heart, and even if he or she is admitted to 'PCCA' (the child and adolescent ward) as an inpatient, the hospital generally will keep him/her for only a few days, for 'stabilization.' You can take these few days as an opportunity to seek out longer-range assistance.
PCCA normally admits children from ages 12-17 only. Children under the age of 12 are admitted on an exception, case-by-case basis.
Practicalities: If your child needs to be hospitalized
Also note: According to a ruling by the Washington Supreme Court (on Thursday, 11 October 2007), parents whose mentally ill child is out of control have a right to ask the state to take custody of the child. See the full text of the Seattle Times article here.
A note on RCW 71.34.600:
Under certain circumstances, state law allows parents to request their child be evaluated for a mental disorder requiring inpatient treatment without the consent of the child. More information can be found on our web page here.