The worst case scenario in a child dependency case is that your parental rights are terminated and your child is permanently removed from your custody. However, it is important to understand that the court will not immediately come to this decision.
Before the court decides if your parental rights will be terminated, several hearings will take place to review the facts of your case and what is in the best interest of your child.
The Child Dependency Process (WI 300)
A child dependency case begins when you are accused of abusing or neglecting your child. Social workers will remove your child from your care and an initial detention hearing will take place.
At the detention hearing, the court will decide if it is in your child’s best interest to be returned to you or remain in the care of a relative or in a foster home. If the court decides that your child should not be returned to your custody, a jurisdiction hearing will be scheduled. At the jurisdiction hearing, the court will decide if the allegations of abuse or neglect against you are true. If the court finds that the allegations are true, the next step is a disposition hearing.
At the disposition hearing, the court will review the evidence and make a plan regarding the custody of your child. In most cases, the court will order your child to remain in the custody of a family member or relative or stay in foster care until you successfully complete a reunification plan.
Can Your Parental Rights Be Terminated in a Child Dependency Case?
While the court can remove your child from your care during a child dependency case, it does not mean that your parental rights have been terminated. You will have the opportunity to have your child returned to you if you complete the steps outlined in a reunification plan.
After a reunification plan has been agreed to by the court, a six-month review hearing will take place to see if you have completed the steps required in the plan. If you have not completed these steps, a 12-month review hearing will take place. If you still have not completed the necessary steps, the court can set a permanency planning hearing to determine if your parental rights should be terminated.
Your parental rights cannot be terminated until there has been a court hearing where the judge reaches that conclusion. It is critical that you hire an experienced child dependency law firm to represent you so that you have the best possible chance to avoid losing your child permanently.
Contact the Child Dependency Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
The child dependency process is extremely complex, so it is important that you speak to a skilled child dependency lawyer about your case. At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable attorneys have over 40 years of experience successfully representing our clients in child dependency matters. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Los Angeles, West Covina, Torrance and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich child dependency lawyer available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us now at (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.