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Frequently Asked Questions About CPS and
Dependency Proceedings

When your child is in trouble, or your parental rights find trouble of their own, talk to a juvenile law attorney to prevent your child from being taken from your custody. At The Law Offices of Johnson & Johnson, our juvenile dependency attorney will agressively defend your family's rights in juvenile dependency / CPS cases.

The Law Offices of Johnson & Johnson helps families throughout the Bay Area get through difficult personal and legal times. Our lead juvenile law attorney, Carin Johnson, has more than 20 years of experience handling both juvenile dependency and CPS proceedings.

Can I Contact My Child If CPS/CFS Takes Him or Her Away?

If Child Protective Services (or Child Family Services) removes your child from the home, you have a right under juvenile law to be allowed to contact your child by phone within five hours of the removal, depending on the age of the child. This right may only be denied if CPS/CFS determines that telephone contact would be detrimental to the child, and your attorney may fight that determination so that you are allowed phone contact. Often parents are not informed of their rights by social services.

What Are the Next Steps After CPS/CFS Removes My Child From the Home?

Contact a CPS attorney immediately. You run a serious risk of losing custody of your children almost immediately if you do not have knowledgeable assistance from an experienced juvenile dependency lawyer.

Within 48 hours after the child is removed from the home, CPS/CFS must either release the child or petition for a detention hearing. At a detention hearing, a judge will decide whether to return your child to your custody or keep the child away from you until a complete trial on the allegations of abuse or neglect can be held.

What happens in Dependency court?

The Juvenile court system is very different than “regular” courts. By law, all juvenile court proceedings are confidential and closed to the public. Only the parent, attorneys and social workers are allowed. Parents usually first find out what the allegations are at a hearing called the Prima Facia. If there isn’t enough evidence to detain the children, then the Court may release them. However, this is a fairly low standard of proof, and most cases will proceed to a jurisdictional hearing.

What happens after the Court detains my children?

If the Court decides there is enough evidence in the petition to detain your children, then a type of trial known as a jurisdictional hearing is held. Your attorney at the Law Offices of Johnson & Johnson will advocate diligently, compassionately and completely for you and your presumption of innocence, while seeking to prove that the allegations of abuse or neglect are false and that the county CPS/CFS office cannot prove its case. Several outcomes are possible after a jurisdictional hearing, including: dismissal of the allegations or return of your children with informal supervision or a formal case plan. If, however, the county meets its burden of proof, then the county will retain control over your children until a dispositional hearing. However, at all stages of the juvenile dependency matter, an experienced juvenile law attorney will aggressively advocate that the children remain in your custody despite court involvement.

At the dispositional hearing, the county will present a case plan of services it believes the parent needs before the child can be returned. The dispositional hearing gives your juvenile law attorney another opportunity to argue for dismissal of the charges, for a more manageable case plan, custody of your children and/or for extended visitation periods.

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