What is Juvenile Dependency?

In situations of alleged abuse, abandonment, or neglect, law enforcement or social services may decide to make a child a dependent of the family court. If an officer or social worker is told that a child is suffering ill treatment, they will investigate the claim and then petition the court to have the child made a dependent.

As a dependent of the court, the judge will determine what is in the best interests of the child and what situation will best protect the child. The judge may decide that the dependent should reside in a temporary home or that the child can remain in their parents' residence while under court supervision. The judge's ruling will be made at a hearing, which will determine:

  • The supervision of the child
  • Who will be the primary caregiver for the child
  • Who will be awarded custody of the child
  • A plan to ensure the child is protected from harm

After assessing the situation, the court will create a plan for the child and his or her family, which may order the parents to attend parenting classes, counseling, substance abuse rehabilitation, and may possibly include a visitation schedule.

If your child has been taken into the custody of the court, contact an experienced family law attorney immediately. You will be required to attend a dependency hearing every six months, and if the court finds that you have violated the terms of your child's plan you could lose custody and visitation. It is very important that you abide by the court's dependency plan to enable you to be awarded your full parental rights once again.

Our team at Claery & Hammond, LLPunderstands the importance of protecting your relationship with your child, and we can advocate for your rights as a parent before the court. You don't have to face this difficult process alone; call a caring and effective attorney from our firm today to learn how you can fight for your child.