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AGO 1950 No. 204 - January 24, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SUPPORT OF JUVENILES COMMITTED TO THE STATE TRAINING SCHOOLS

1. Contributions for support of juveniles committed to state training schools may be made directly to the Department of Public Institutions, even though the court order may not specifically so provide.

2. The Department of Public Institutions may forward statements directly to the person held liable by the court.

3. Upon receipt of money pursuant to court order, the Department of Public Institutions should remit the same to the State Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund.

4. No refund of overpayments may be made under existing law.

                                                                   - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                 January 24, 1950

Honorable Van R. Hinkle
Director
Department of Public Institutions
Social Security Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 204

Dear Sir:

            We have your letter of January 12, 1950, in which you ask four separate questions, all relating to payments of contributions for the support of juveniles committed to the state training schools.  The conclusions reached may be summarized as follows:

            1. Such payments may be made directly to the Department of Public Institutions, even though the court order may not specifically so provide.

            2. The Department of Public Institutions may forward statements directly to the person held liable by the court.

            3. Upon receipt of money pursuant to court order, your department should remit the same to the State Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            4. No refund of overpayments may be made under existing law.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Your letter reads in part:

            "It appears that the Superior Court Judges of the state carrying out the provisions of the Juvenile Code, in making commitments to the State Training Schools, will henceforth make a finding as to maintenance as authorized by Rem. Rev. Stat. 1987-8.  * * *

            "In the event a sum if fixed by the Court for the parent or guardian to pay, the following questions arise, viz:

            "(1) May such monthly payments be made directly to the Department of Public Institutions even though the Order of Commitment may not specifically so state to whom payment should be made.

            "(2) Should statements be forwarded directly to the person held liable by the Maintenance Division, Department of Public Institutions, without existing statutes so directing.

            "(3) Upon the receipt of money pursuant to such orders to what fund should such collections be remitted.

            "(4) In the event of over-payments is it proper for the department to make refunds."

            Section 8, chapter 160, Laws of 1913 [1987-8 Rem. Rev. Stat.] has never been construed by the Supreme Court, at least as to any matter now under consideration.  The section was referred to in In re Williams, 10 Wn. (2d) 542, 117 P. (2d) 202, and In re Hudson, 13 Wn. (2d) 672, 126 Pac. 765.  The section would apparently give a wide latitude in providing for the care of dependent or delinquent children.  The portion relative to our consideration reads:

            "* * * In any case in which the court shall find the child dependent or delinquent, it may in the same or subsequent proceeding upon the parent or parents, guardian, or other person having custody of said child, being duly summoned or voluntarily appearing, proceed to inquire into the ability of such persons or person to support the child or contribute to its support, and if the court shall find such person or persons able to support the child or contribute thereto, the court may enter such order or  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] decree as shall be according to equity in the premises, and may enforce the same by execution, or in any way in which a court of equity may enforce its decrees.  * * *"

            Since your inquiry is limited to payments on account of those dependent or delinquent children committed to the state training schools, this opinion is also limited to the same subject.  Apparently it was the legislative intent that a court order for the payment of support money, as set forth in the above quotation, is to be made under the same general theory and in the same general manner as payments for the care and maintenance of insane persons are required to be made under the insanity law.  (See generally sections 6930 et seq. Rem. Rev. Stat. and amendments.)  Since the insanity laws provide for the payments to the Department of Public Institutions, it would seem that the same interpretation should be given to section 1897-8,supra.  It would therefore seem that your first inquiry should be answered in the affirmative.

            On the same reasoning, your second question should also be answered in the affirmative.

            Your third question presents greater problems.  Neither section 1987-8,supra, nor any other section of the juvenile laws, contain any provision which can be construed as setting forth any procedure for the disposition of monies paid to the state for support of dependent or delinquent children.  Any payments to your department under section 1897-8, supra, would appear to be subject to the general rule that you should transmit the same to the State Treasurer not later than the day following the receipt of such money, together with a statement of the source from which each item of said money was derived.  See section 1, chapter 133, Laws of 1909 [Rem. Rev. Stat. 5501].  Presumably, all monies so paid by you to the State Treasurer will be placed in the General Fund.

            Answering your fourth question, we are unable to see how any overpayments may be refunded to the person paying the same.  The situation is quite different from that where money is paid for the maintenance of patients in the state mental hospitals.  See our opinion to your office of August 23, 1948.  In the case of payments for maintenance of the insane, there is a special statute (section 1, chapter 179, Laws of 1947 [6390 (c) Rem. Supp. 1947]) which provides for a suspense account.  The juvenile laws contain no such provision.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 4]]

            Section 4, Article VIII of the State Constitution prohibits any payments of money from the State Treasury without appropriation.  In the absence of appropriate legislation we know of no way refund of overpayment may be made.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

GEORGE DOWNER
Assistant Attorney General

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