Walnut Creek Child Placement Attorney
Helping Clients Fight to Retain Custody of Their Child
If the court takes jurisdiction of a child, the social worker must present a plan for services, which is known as a case plan. This plan will contain certain requirements for the parents, such as the completion of parenting classes, submission to drug tests, and adherence to a visitation plan. The social worker must follow the plan by offering services and regularly meeting with both the child and the parents (usually once a month while the case plan is in progress).
The Law Offices of Johnson & Johnson will work closely with you to ensure you are adhering to the social worker’s plan for the best chance at retaining custody of your child. Contact our office at (925) 900-5330 for detailed information.
Changing the Case Plan or Court Orders
When there is a change of the parents’ circumstances for the better, or new compelling evidence that the Court should made aware of, your attorney can petition to change the previous court orders.
Your juvenile law attorney can file a motion – at any appropriate time – for a change of any prior dependency court order, as long as it can be shown that it is in the best interest of the child, there is new evidence or there are changed circumstances. This must take place before parental rights are terminated.
After your child is removed and placed into temporary care, the social worker on your case will refer you to reunification service providers. It is then up to you to enroll in and complete those services. Your juvenile dependency attorney can represent your interests when it is being decided which services will be required of you in Walnut Creek.
General tips for success in reunification services include:
- Do not delay. Once your child has been placed in another home, your time to gain reunification is limited. You may have six months or less to show the judge that you are making real progress. It is helpful to have a Walnut Creek juvenile dependency attorney on your side to present evidence of this progress to the court.
- Notify the social worker of conflicts immediately. There are many problems that can arise when you attempt to enroll in reunification services. Perhaps you live in a rural area and the only provider is not accepting new patients, or the next substance abuse class does not begin for several months.
- If something interferes with your beginning or completing the ordered services in Walnut Creek, CA, report the problem to your social worker and your juvenile dependency attorney immediately, before it can be seen as a failure on your part.
- Show up on time. You can bet that all service providers will communicate with the social worker on your case. These providers will create written progress reports that will be passed on to the judge. If you don’t show up or show up late, it will send the wrong message to the court.
- Give your all. Simply showing up for court-ordered services is not enough for most judges. You will be expected to actively participate in services. Resistant behavior will absolutely not serve you well but a good progress report from service providers will.
You are entitled to reasonable visitation with your child after he or she has been removed from your care unless there is an issue of safety. How you handle this visitation can have a significant impact on whether you regain custody of your child. It is important to show up to every scheduled visit on time and to follow any rules that have been provided. The more progress you display when interacting with your child during visitation, the more likely the judge will be to return your child to your home and your care.
Grandparents and Other Relatives
If you are a grandparent or other person, you can also petition the court for what is called de facto parental status. You can ask the court to place the children in your care. The law mandates that relatives be given preferential treatment for placement of the children. Your application MUST be considered by the social worker. Many motions, arguments and procedures exist to protect the grandparent’s rights in juvenile court. The Law Offices of Johnson & Johnson have represented many grandparents and other caregivers in juvenile court.
If you are a relative and you live out of state, you can apply for the placement of the children in your care through what is known as the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The social worker, once notified, can make appropriate inquiries to get this process moving forward. There are ways it can be done in a very expedited manner under certain circumstances.
Termination of Parental Rights
If, at this unfortunate stage of the dependency proceedings, a parent is incapable or unable to finish or complete the requested case plan set forth by the social worker from CPS/DFCS, the Department of Social Services will move for termination of parental rights, long term foster care, or guardianship in what is known as a “26 Hearing”. Again, this is an informal reference to the California Welfare & Institutions Code 366.26 that essentially allows the state to put your children up for adoption. This is supposed to be a last-resort action by the Court.
In the many years of our experience in juvenile law, nothing is more important than an interested, hard-working, zealous advocate with experience in the specific area of juvenile dependency in order for you to have the most effective advocacy in the courtroom. We can be your best advocate!