74.34.063  <<  74.34.067 >>   74.34.068

RCW 74.34.067

Investigations—Interviews—Ongoing case planning—Agreements with tribes—Conclusion of investigation.

(1) Where appropriate, an investigation by the department may include a private interview with the vulnerable adult regarding the alleged abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.
(2) In conducting the investigation, the department shall interview the complainant, unless anonymous, and shall use its best efforts to interview the vulnerable adult or adults harmed, and, consistent with the protection of the vulnerable adult shall interview facility staff, any available independent sources of relevant information, including if appropriate the family members of the vulnerable adult.
(3) The department may conduct ongoing case planning and consultation with: (a) Those persons or agencies required to report under this chapter or submit a report under this chapter; (b) consultants designated by the department; and (c) designated representatives of Washington Indian tribes if client information exchanged is pertinent to cases under investigation or the provision of protective services. Information considered privileged by statute and not directly related to reports required by this chapter must not be divulged without a valid written waiver of the privilege.
(4) The department shall prepare and keep on file a report of each investigation conducted by the department for a period of time in accordance with policies established by the department.
(5) If the department has reason to believe that the vulnerable adult has suffered from abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect, and lacks the ability or capacity to consent, and needs the protection of a guardian, the department may bring a guardianship action under chapter 11.88 RCW.
(6) For purposes consistent with this chapter, the department, the certified professional guardian board, and the office of public guardianship may share information contained in reports and investigations of the abuse, abandonment, neglect, self-neglect, and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. This information may be used solely for (a) recruiting or appointing appropriate guardians and (b) monitoring, or when appropriate, disciplining certified professional or public guardians. Reports of abuse, abandonment, neglect, self-neglect, and financial exploitation are confidential under RCW 74.34.095 and other laws, and secondary disclosure of information shared under this section is prohibited.
(7) When the investigation is completed and the department determines that an incident of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect has occurred, the department shall inform the vulnerable adult of their right to refuse protective services, and ensure that, if necessary, appropriate protective services are provided to the vulnerable adult, with the consent of the vulnerable adult. The vulnerable adult has the right to withdraw or refuse protective services.
(8) The department's adult protective services division may enter into agreements with federally recognized tribes to investigate reports of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect of vulnerable adults on property over which a federally recognized tribe has exclusive jurisdiction. If the department has information that abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect is criminal or is placing a vulnerable adult on tribal property at potential risk of personal or financial harm, the department may notify tribal law enforcement or another tribal representative specified by the tribe. Upon receipt of the notification, the tribe may assume jurisdiction of the matter. Neither the department nor its employees may participate in the investigation after the tribe assumes jurisdiction. The department, its officers, and its employees are not liable for any action or inaction of the tribe or for any harm to the alleged victim, the person against whom the allegations were made, or other parties that occurs after the tribe assumes jurisdiction. Nothing in this section limits the department's jurisdiction and authority over facilities or entities that the department licenses or certifies under federal or state law.
(9) The department may photograph a vulnerable adult or their environment for the purpose of providing documentary evidence of the physical condition of the vulnerable adult or his or her environment. When photographing the vulnerable adult, the department shall obtain permission from the vulnerable adult or his or her legal representative unless immediate photographing is necessary to preserve evidence. However, if the legal representative is alleged to have abused, neglected, abandoned, or exploited the vulnerable adult, consent from the legal representative is not necessary. No such consent is necessary when photographing the physical environment.
(10) When the investigation is complete and the department determines that the incident of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect has occurred, the department shall inform the facility in which the incident occurred, consistent with confidentiality requirements concerning the vulnerable adult, witnesses, and complainants.
NOTES:
FindingsPurposeSeverabilityConflict with federal requirements1999 c 176: See notes following RCW 74.34.005.
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