Juvenile 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.
Role of The Social Worker
The role of the social worker in Juvenile Dependency Court is critical because social workers make recommendations in written reports to the Court. Most judges, hold social workers’ recommendations in high regard. Thus, it is important you hire an attorney who will assist you to properly communicate with the signed social worker and provide information favorable to you.
What Can I Do For You?
I am a Child Welfare Legal Specialist, CWLS, (a designation recognized by the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association, and the National Association of Counsel for Children). The CWLS certification is only earned by attorneys with specialized knowledge, skill, and expertise in the field of child welfare law.
If you are a parent, I will help you reunify with your child as quickly as possible.
If you are a relative or family friend, I will fight for the removed child to be placed in your home while the child is removed from his or her parent’s home.