Description of Juvenile Court Dependency Process

How a Case Gets to Court

The Dependency process begins when someone reports suspected child abuse or neglect or when a minor left without support as result of parents' incarceration/institutionalization, or parent unwilling to provide care.

An investigation is done by the Department of Social Services and if it is believed that the child´s safety requires court protection, a petition is filed to declare the child a dependent of the Court.

Basic reasons minors may become Dependents are:

If reunification with the family is not possible, the Juvenile Court shall order an appropriate permanent plan for the minor's care such as adoption.

Outline of the Juvenile Dependency Process

Below is a graphical representation of the court process:
JCDP Image
(Click to Enlarge)

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