What Is Juvenile Dependency?

When a child’s safety is called into question, Child Protective Services (CPS) will sometimes step in and remove a child from their parents’ care. This action will often spark a juvenile dependency case to determine if a child’s parents are able to provide a child with suitable care. Depending on the outcome if this case, a child will either be placed in another party’s care or returned to the care of their parents if it is in the child’s best interests. These cases are extremely serious, as their outcome can have a lasting impact on the lives of the parents and the children involved.

CPS may remove a child under the following circumstances:

  • The parents have a history of substance abuse
  • There is evidence of neglectful or abusive behavior
  • The child’s living situation is deemed unsanitary or hazardous
  • There is evidence of domestic violence
  • The parents have a history of mental illness

What Happens in a Juvenile Dependency Case?

When a child is removed from a home, CPS will file a petition with the courts alleging whether there is actual or immediate danger to a child. This petition can also be filed by a parent or other party with an interest in the child’s wellbeing, such as a doctor, teacher, member of the clergy, or referral from law enforcement. A detention hearing will be held to determine if the child should be returned to the parents’ care.

If a child is not returned following this hearing, a judge will provide the parents with instructions on how they can get help in order to be reunited with their child. This usually involves participation in treatment programs such as drug and alcohol treatment and counselling. If the parents meet the court’s guidelines, reunification efforts will begin under the supervision of a court representative. If not, the courts can implement a permanent alternative plan for the child’s care, such as foster care, adoption, guardianship, or other permanent living arrangement.

Contact a Skilled Riverside County Juvenile Dependency Lawyer

Parents are entitled to retain legal representation during these proceedings to represent their interests and advocate for their parental rights in court. If your child has been removed by CPS, it is imperative you contact a knowledgeable Riverside County family law attorney from Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich as soon as possible to maximize your chances of maintaining an active presence in your child’s life. With 50+ years of dedicated legal experience, your case is sure to be in excellent hands.

To find out more about what our Certified Family Law Specialist can do for you, contact our office online or call (951) 506-6654 today.


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