Juvenile Dependency

Our Firm is uniquely qualified to represent parents who are accused of abuse or neglect of their children.

Dependency Court

The Juvenile Dependency Court is the Court that presides over cases when children are thought to be victims of abuse or neglect at the hands of a parent or caretaker . The Court determines if and when a child removed from a parent or guardian by DCFS, will be returned. A typical case can begin by a complaint made to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or Child Protective Services (CPS) alleging a child has been abused or neglected. The referral may come from an ex-spouse, a former boyfriend or girlfriend, a disgruntled neighbor or employee, a teacher or law enforcement, to name a few. Upon receipt of this referral, DCFS will initiate a child abuse investigation and if they suspect that a child is being mistreated or abused, a social worker can remove the child(ren) from the parents’ custody. A Court hearing will take place in court no more than 3 court days later. At the initial (detention) hearing, the Court will make orders (usually temporary) as to where the child(ren) should stay and what type of visitation, if any will be allowed.

This is only the beginning of a complex process to determine whether it is the best interest of the child(ren) to be returned to the parent, placed with a relative or in foster care or to be adopted. There are numerous factors that go into the decision making process such as the age of the child, the nature of the allegations, prior history to name a few. The child will have a lawyer appointed by the Court to represent his or her interests. DCFS will be represented by lawyers from County Counsel. Juvenile dependency law is an extremely specialized and complex area of law that requires a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to represent the parent through the process.
We assist parents, guardians and caretakers with following: