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What to Expect During a Juvenile Dependency Hearing

When a child has been removed from his or her home by police or a social worker, that situation typically will be presented to California’s dependency courts. A parent will receive a notice to appear in court for a dependency hearing.

A child cannot be removed from his or her home unless there is reason to believe that the child is not safe or if there is a credible threat against the child’s well-being and/or safety.

What is a Juvenile Dependency Hearing?

If you find yourself in this situation, the type of hearing that will take place will depend heavily on the circumstances of the case. A juvenile dependency court’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the child or children are safe and that their well-being is protected. The dependency court must also determine whether the children have a significant risk of being abused or neglected by their caregivers.

The court takes the rights of all parties into account, meaning the children and their family. Although this is a hearing to determine that the children are safe and not at risk for being subjected to a dangerous situation, the children’s family still has its own rights that must be protected. Furthermore, because a child is typically removed from a home due to government action, the juvenile dependency court will ensure that the government has adequately performed its duties as required under California law.

What Does a Court Consider During a Juvenile Dependency Hearing?

Juvenile dependency courts will consider a number of factors during your juvenile dependency hearing. This information includes, but is not limited to:

  • The severity of the allegations
  • Children’s age
  • Reports from police and social workers
  • Medical reports
  • Psychiatric reports
  • Family history
  • Oral arguments presented by the attorneys for the involved parties

The court can hear testimony from a variety of individuals, including:

  • Social workers
  • Law enforcement
  • Parents
  • Family members
  • Medical professionals
  • Teachers
  • Witnesses
  • The children, in some, but not all, cases

If you, or someone you know, are involved in a juvenile dependency case, it is imperative to seek effective legal representation to ensure your rights are upheld.

Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP has many years of experience handling juvenile dependency cases in the San Diego area. We will work tirelessly to assist you with your case and ensure that your rights are upheld throughout the process. For a consultation, we welcome your call at (858) 935-6211.

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