uvenile Dependency is very serious and time-sensitive. If you do not successfully navigate this intense system, your parental rights may be terminated and your child could be put up for adoption. Hiring an experienced child welfare attorney who will take significant time to communicate with you and the social worker, is critical.
Juvenile Dependency proceedings are confidential. As such, the dependency process is foreign to attorneys and non-attorneys alike. Please click on this link for a Juvenile Dependency Flow Chart. Click on this link for a short video explaining the juvenile dependency court process.
A juvenile dependency case, begins with the County filing a petition under California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 300 requesting a child be removed from their parents or guardians due to abuse or neglect.
If your child is placed into protective custody, time is of the essence. The County can legally detain your child for up to 72 hours. Should the County file a petition to remove your child, a Detention Hearing will be held no later than 72 hours after removal of the child from your care.
It is important you have an experienced attorney fighting for you because the County will conduct an investigation to determine if your child can return to your care, and if so, under what circumstances.
If the County determines your child should not return to your care, you want an attorney who will fight for you to reunify with your child as soon as possible and for the child to be placed with relatives or close friends instead of a foster home.
It is common for relatives to hire attorneys to assist them to attain placement of a child removed from his or her parents. Most parents would prefer their child live not live with strangers in a foster home.
It is important you act quickly to establish your rights as a parent, relative, or close family friend.