When someone makes a report about the safety of your child, the police or a social worker must investigate. They have to decide if the court should get involved so your child will be safe and protected.
If the police or social worker decides your child needs to be in temporary foster care to be safe, they will take your child away. This can be because your child:
-Was not well taken care of or watched over;
-Was neglected, abused, or molested; or
-Was left with someone who did not take good care of him or her.
After your child is taken away, the social worker for your case will find out about you, your house, and your child. He or she will do what they think is the best way to keep your child safe.
For now, your child may be sent to live:
-With the other legal parent (if you do not live together);
-With a relative; or
-In a foster home or shelter.
You must tell the social worker the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the other parent or relatives who can take care of your child. The social worker will get in touch with them to see if they can give your child a safe place to live. This way, your child may not have to stay with a stranger.
After an initial investigation, if the social worker thinks your child is not safe:
-He or she will file papers (called a “petition”) to ask the court to say your child is a “dependent of the court.”
-The social worker has 2 workdays after he or she takes your child to file a petition. If your child is not taken away, the social worker has more time to file.
There will be a court hearing. You MUST go to court for the hearing. You will be told the date, time, and place of the hearing. At the hearing, the judge will make orders about the care, custody, and supervision of your child.
Juvenile cases are very serious. They can change your life and your child’s life. Know your rights and how the court works.
If you find yourself in Dependency Court you will need the assistance of an Orange County Juvenile attorney call today for a free consultation 714-971-8000.