Rep. Travis Couture joins Brandi Kruse to reiterate need for stronger laws to protect kids from drug-addicted parents

Rep. Travis Couture sits down with Brandi Kruse on “Undivided” to stress the need for stronger child-protective laws for kids whose parents are hooked on hard drugs. Couture, R-Allyn, has been working to roll back changes to the law that came last year when House Bill 1227, known as the Keeping Families Together Act, took effect in Washington state. Among other things, it raised the legal threshold for removing a child from a home after a report of abuse or neglect. Now, there must be proof to the courts that the removal is necessary to prevent imminent physical harm to the child. The law also made clear that family poverty, isolation, single parenthood, a parent’s age, crowded or inadequate housing, drug use, prenatal drug or alcohol exposure, mental illness, disability or special needs of the parent or child, and nonconforming social behavior does not by itself constitute imminent physical harm.

The year the law passed Washington was already seeing a record increase in child deaths connected to drugs, there has been a significant increase in child deaths involving children whose parent’s have been involved with child protective services (CPS) due to drug use, including many children who have died from fentanyl exposure. There has also been multiple children killed, allegedly by a parent addicted to fentanyl or meth who gets violent. The most recent example, is 4-year old Ariel Garcia who was found brutally murdered in Pierce County. The Everett boy’s mother now faces first-degree murder charges.

The little boy’s grandmother had just been awarded temporary emergency guardianship of Ariel after telling the court her daughter, Ariel’s mother, was abusing meth and alcohol, would disappear for days, and often became violent. But Ariel was gone before she could serve her daughter with the paperwork and take custody of her grandson.

During the 2024 legislative session, Couture proposed House Bill 2233 which would have strengthened child protections laws so that a parent’s use of fentanyl, heroin, and meth in the home qualified as proof a child was in imminent physical harm and needed to be removed. The bill never received a hearing. Instead, Democrats passed a watered down version of Couture’s bill that does not do enough to protect children from drug-addicted parents.

Rep. Travis Couture joins Brandi Kruse on “Undivided” to talk about the need for stronger laws to protect kids from drug addicted parents in wake of Everett boy’s murder.


Washington State House Republican Communications