A dependency case occurs whenever there is an allegation a child has been abused, neglected or abandoned. The person alleged in a dependency case is alleged to have done or failed to have done something in the best interest of a child. The person presumed, must be responsible for the child’s welfare such as a parent or legal guardian.
The dependency system is not retaliatory. That is the dependency system’s express goal is to reunite children with their caregivers. The parent or guardian is to be provided with the knowledge needed to no longer abuse, neglect or abandon the child. Should the caregiver’s behavior suitably change, the child will be able to go home.
There is a possible down side to a dependency case. If the caregiver’s behavior does not suitably change, the child may be permanently placed with someone else. The child could be placed in a guardianship or the parent or guardian may have their rights to the child terminated forever.
The dependency case is not a criminal case. It is considered to be a civil matter. The legal protections found in a criminal case do not exist in dependency. Parents or guardians may be made to testify against their own interest. There is no right to a jury trial as the Judge decides the case.
At Faga Law, we can assist you in determining the best course of action to achieve a positive outcome with your situation.