Juvenile Dependency Hearings

If CPS has opened a dependency case, you should know the court process. Our law firm was established in 1989. We handle CPS defense cases in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Our approach to these cases is highly strategic and specific. We also believe that individuals facing CPS and social workers should be aware of the general Juvenile Dependency Court process.

Below is a very general outline of the investigation and court process. If you are facing a juvenile dependency case in California, call our aggressive attorneys to discuss obtaining defense counsel as early as possible. This may make a difference as to where and when your children are placed or returned.

What Is The Process For Abuse Or Neglect Reports?

Initially, a report of abuse or neglect is made through the hotline. Reports are anonymous to protect those who make the report.

Emergency response is called to respond based on the severity of the situation. There are three levels of response when Child Protective Services receives a report.

  1. Imminent danger provokes a two-hour response time
  2. Level I gives a five-day response time
  3. Level II carries a 10-day response time

Initial investigation and court intervention occur when there is evidence of abuse or neglect. The child/children may be assessed and released without further action or on the opposite — they may be taken into custody by CPS.

When court intervention is necessary, county counsel (appointed attorneys) screens petition prior to filing a case. When the child is in custody by CPS, there is a 48-hour deadline to file petition. When child is not in custody, an alternative could be voluntary services up to 12 months and family maintenance or family reunification.

What Type Of Hearing Is Required?

Detention hearing: When petitions are filed by CPS, it is usually the morning of the following workday after petition was filed. This determines that there is enough evidence to keep the child in custody until the court can make a true finding or dismiss the petition.

Jurisdictional hearing: Occurs approximately 21 days after the detention hearing. The court will rule if the petition is a true finding and child needs protection, or if found that the petition is not true and the child does not need court protection, a dismissal would be in order.

Disposition hearing: This hearing addresses placement of the child, protective orders, visitation and services. Child will be declared a dependent of the court.

Review hearing: Every six months court reviews the case at a review hearing.

Where Will Your Child End Up?

Permanent plans for child can include long-term foster care, guardianship or adoption. The plan must be made if jurisdiction is not terminated at the end of the family maintenance or family reunification period.

Although you may be represented by court appointed counsel, you still have the right to private representation by an experienced lawyer.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard K. Isles to discuss this with you by calling 951-643-3829 directly.