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When you’re a parent coping with a child’s reliance, it can be a very difficult and traumatic experience for you. Your partner, another member of your household or even you yourself could be accused of child abuse or neglect, putting your children’s custody – as well as your parental rights – in jeopardy.
The Child Dependency Court has the authority to order any of the following, among other things:
When you’re dealing with a child dependency case, there’s a lot on the line. While a greater awareness of this process may not affect your potential outcomes, it can help you cope with the process and whatever outcomes do occur.
What Might Happen to Start a Child Dependency Case?
In most circumstances, a child dependency problem begins with a reference to the California Department of Social Services regarding possible neglect or abuse. This organization will dispatch an emergency response person to assess the situation and determine whether the claim is credible. If the response worker suspects that the kid is being neglected or abused, the child may be removed from the home and become a court dependent.
The First Hearing: Detention
If a child is taken from the custody of his or her parents or legal guardians, a Child Dependency Court hearing will be held as quickly as practicable. The goal of the detention hearing is to determine whether the child can return home with their parents or if they will continue to be a court dependent.
Those accused of neglect or abuse will have the opportunity to admit or refute the claims at the detention hearing, but without explanation. The judge will establish a living environment that is in the best interest of the kid after evaluating the circumstances of the case. If it is judged that the child should be removed from their parents’ custody, the youngster may be put with a relative or placed in foster care.
The Second Hearing: Jurisdiction
If a child is taken from their parents’ custody following the detention hearing, the claims of abuse or neglect can be addressed during the jurisdiction hearing. The judge will decide if the claims are true after hearing your side of the story. It’s doubtful that your child will be returned to your custody if he or she finds them to be true. The case will then be heard in front of a judge for a decision.
Hearing on Disposition and The Reunification Plan
A disposition hearing will be held around 10 days following the jurisdiction hearing if the kid is not allowed to return to their parents. The court will offer a reunification plan for the parents and their kid during the disposition hearing. In order for a kid to be reunited with their parents, the plan will include a set of requirements that must be satisfied.
The following are some examples of requirements:
The Reunification Review Hearings
The court will review the parents’ compliance with the unification plan six months after it is implemented. If the court is pleased with the parents’ implementation of the reunion plan and the resolution of the issues that led to the dependency case, the child may be returned to their parents’ custody.
A 12-month review hearing will be scheduled if the court determines that not enough progress has been made. If the court is still unsatisfied with the parents’ progress at this hearing, the case will be sent to a permanency hearing.
The Permanency Planning Hearing
The objective of a permanency planning hearing is to establish where a kid will live permanently. If a court has previously decided that a kid should not be returned to his or her parents’ custody, it is doubtful that this will happen now. Instead, the court is more likely to decide whether the child should be placed with a relative or placed in foster care.
The parents’ parental rights may also be terminated by the court. If this happens, a selection and implementation plan – known as a “26 hearing” – will be put in place to ensure that the child has a safe and stable home. Adoption or the appointment of a legal guardian for the child may be included in this plan.
If you need help with a juvenile dependency matter in the state of California, call Spodek Law Group today for your confidential consultation.
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