Most people believe that a child should be able to live with his or her parents. But is that always the case? Should children be allowed to live with parents or legal guardians who don’t take proper care of their children? This is a very difficult question to answer, and it is why the child dependency court exists.
How Does a Child Dependency Case Start? (WI 300)
A child dependency case begins when a parent is accused of abusing or neglecting a child in his or her care. For instance, if your son shows up to school with bruises on his body, the teacher must report the suspected abuse. That is because teachers are mandated reporters. Under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, professionals including educators, doctors and social workers must report suspected child abuse.
After the report is filed, a social worker will come to your home and determine if your child is living in an unsafe environment. If the social worker determines that your child is at risk living with you, he or she can prepare a petition to remove your child from your custody. Once removed, your child can be placed in a facility in your county where they can reside with other allegedly abused children pending the outcome of the case. Your child could also be placed in a foster home.
Now that you have a case in child dependency court, what happens next?
Your Child Could Be Removed from Your Care
Under Welfare and Institutions Code 300, the child dependency court has the power to rule that your child must be removed from your home if he or she is subject to serious physical or emotional harm due to your neglect, lack of care or for many other means.
At the detention hearing in child dependency court, the court will determine if your child will:
- Be returned to your care
- Be placed in a foster home, OR
- Be able to live with another family member or relative
It is important to note that you have the right to an attorney in a child dependency case. Your child dependency attorney will attempt to argue that your child should be returned to your care
So, how does the child dependency court make its determination?
The Concern of the Child Dependency Court
At the detention hearing in dependency court, the judge will review the facts of the case to determine if returning your child to your care would subject him or her to physical or emotional harm.
The concern of the child dependency court is the safety and welfare of minor children. While the child dependency court may make an effort to keep families together and help parents improve their relationship with their children, the court’s goal is to protect children from harm. If the court believes it is not in your child’s best interest to return to your care, he or she will be removed from your home.
Having your child removed from your care will likely have a major negative impact on your child. That is why you should seek the help of the experienced child dependency attorneys at Wallin & Klarich immediately if you have a pending child dependency case.
Contact an Experienced Child Dependency Attorney at Wallin & Klarich Today
Having your family torn apart, even if it is for a short time, could have lasting consequences. That is why you should contact a skilled and knowledgeable child dependency attorney right away if a social worker has made contact with you. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled child dependency lawyers have been successfully representing parents in child dependency cases for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich child dependency attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.