Accusations of child abuse or child neglect will always be an overwhelming and frightening experience for any parent. Our Dependency/CPS Lawyers Orange County has a reputation for being aggressive and fearless in the courtroom, which has allowed them to deliver extraordinary results to their clients. With over 150 dependency case under their belts throughout counties like Los Angeles and Orange County, you can be rest assured that our experienced team of Dependency/CPS defense lawyers will be giving you their all.
Our goal with every case is the same: to fight for you and your family, and your right to retain/regain full legal custody of your child. The strategies involved to reach that goal, however, vary depending on the severity of the allegations against the parents. It is important that the dependency attorney on your side is not only well-versed in the law but also committed to you and your case. Our Orange County dependency attorneys truly believe that there is no dependency case that is too big or too small.
What is a “dependency” case?
In California, a dependency case is created once a parent or legal guardian of a child is accused by the government of child abuse/neglect. These allegations typically arise after someone has witnessed what they believed was child abuse/neglect and report it to a government agency (i.e. 911, Department of Social Services, local police departments). Once reported, the Department of Social Services opens a formal investigation, sending social workers to the home of the child to determine the circumstances surrounding the alleged child abuse/neglect. These investigations will often include interviews with both parents (or guardian) and with the child.
Once the Department of Social Services conducts their investigation, they will decide whether the child needs to be removed from the home, effectively making them a dependent of the court.
Once the government decides to file a dependency case, or a case under Welfare and Institutions Code 300, then a hearing called the Detention Hearing (or Initial Hearing) will be scheduled. If your child is removed from the home, then the Detention Hearing must be heard within 48 hours from the date of removal— excluding non-court days.
Can a dependency case be filed against me?
Under Welfare and Institutions Code 300, a child can be made a dependent of the court under any of the following circumstances, including but not limited to:
The child suffered serious physical harm or was/is at risk of suffering serious physical harm
The child suffered serious physical harm or illness, or there was substantial risk that the child suffered serious physical harm or illness, due to inadequate supervision or due to willful neglect to provide the child with food, clothing, shelter or medical treatment.
The child suffered, or is at risk of suffering, serious emotional damage due to lack of appropriate care from parents or guardian.
The child was, or is at risk of being sexually abused.
The parent/guardian knew the child was becoming sexually abused and failed to act to stop it.
The child under the age of five suffered severe physical abuse by either the parent/guardian or by any other person the parent knew or should have known was abusing the child.
The parent/guardian caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect.
The child was left alone without proper means of support.
What can happen to my child while dependency proceedings are going on?
While dependency proceedings are going on, where your child is situated depends on what the court believes is the best situation for the child. In certain cases, depending on the severity of the allegations against the parent/guardian, this could mean your child would be placed in a group home or foster care while proceedings are ongoing. In cases where the allegations are deemed less severe by the courts, your child could be allowed to live with a close family member.
In other cases, your child may also be allowed to live in home with the parent and guardian— but will heavy supervision.
At Abuershaid Lee and Le, Trial Lawyers APC, the goal of our Orange County dependency/CPS defense attorney team in every one of our dependency cases is to fight to make sure the family unit is intact as much as possible.