Juvenile dependency is the area of law that was intended to protect children who may have been abused or neglected by their parents or guardians. The legal process is typically triggered after a referral is made to Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) stating that a child has been abused or neglected. The referral may come from an ex-spouse, neighbor, teacher or law enforcement. 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 will conduct an emergency detention of the child(ren) from the parents’ custody and a detention hearing will take place in court no more than 3 court days later. At the detention hearing, DCFS will present evidence why continued detention of the children is necessary and will file a petition against the parents/guardians alleging the abuse that took place.
Juvenile dependency law is an extremely specialized area of law that requires an experienced attorney that will give you the best chance of preventing the removal of your children from your custody and or securing their return in the shortest amount of time possible. Our office has represented parents and legal guardians in hundreds of juvenile dependency matters in Southern California. Our firm also represents relatives who are trying to have children placed in their care in matters where the children are in the care of non-relatives.