Juvenile Dependency

Within the practice of juvenile law lies Juvenile Dependency law. Like other juvenile law cases, juvenile dependency cases are always dealt with solely by a judge and not a jury.

Juvenile Dependency Court cases occur when the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or the equivalent such Child Protective Services, (CPS), feel that a child’s current parent or guardians are not fit to be caregivers and that there should be necessary intervention. These charges may be filed in relation to claims of parental misconduct towards children, such as abuse or neglect. After the filed report to open the case with a Juvenile Dependency court is approved, DCFS often strip custody from the current parents, oftentimes transferring a child to a different home at least until the legal matters are settled. Oftentimes, the report filed to a law enforcement agency is enough for DCFS to remove custody – even if the report is unfounded. Law enforcement agencies are mandated to act cautiously with these reports and err on the side of caution, even if – oftentimes – these petitions may be inaccurate. In some instances parents experience a wrongful removal of custody simply because of a misunderstanding between a teacher or therapist, an angry ex-spouse, neighbor, or other vindictive person with a connection to the family. It is up to the parents to appear in court and prove that the claims against them are untrue. Attorney Zebberman is committed to assisting individuals who seek to reunite with their children and regain custody, and defends them against any abuse or neglect charges that may be related to the situation.

As a former Juvenile Court Referee who has presided over many such cases and as a child dependency attorney who has represented many such parents in the past, there are certain legal issues that may need addressing even before the veracity of the CPS testimonies can be confirmed, such as placement of the child until this point (securing the child at a relative’s home is often the most ideal option), veracity of the prosecutor’s accusations, and prospective steps to regain custody. Throughout these procedural discussions, Attorney Shep Zebberman will work with you as a powerful advocate to reunite your family. No matter the severity of the allegations, he is skilled in many years of experience providing representation for parents who find themselves in such a scenario and are seeking to regain custody of their children.

If the allegations against the parents ultimately prove false, the child will be reunited with the original parents and the case will be closed. Until the point of reunification, the judge (many times along with social workers) may place your child in foster care, as the child is becomes “dependent” on juvenile court for safeguarding and care. If the court finds that at least some of the claims are in fact true, the child will be taken under the court’s jurisdiction (“dependency”) for a period of time (on average – six to eight months) until the parent(s) demonstrate(s) that they are healthy and fit to serve as the guardian(s) and the child will no longer be at a demonstrated risk of harm in the home. The parents’ method of demonstrating better conduct is usually through faithful steps/measures towards recovery or completion of counseling programs with the assistance of social workers.

Sometimes the judge and social workers may try to create a “permanent plan” for the child if they feel that the parents are not, or will not, take the necessary measures to make their home safe for their child. Other times, parents lose custody of their children for years, as well as have their parental rights terminated, depending on the result of the trial.

To reunite your family, it is strongly recommended to hire a competent and qualified attorney skilled in juvenile dependency if you are facing a hearing or case of that nature. If you want a positive result then you want an experienced, skilled and results-oriented attorney on your side. Attorney Zebberman is a skillful litigator and negotiator and has achieved amazing results when representing parents involved in child abuse and neglect cases.

Call (855) 770-1836 and schedule a consultation today.