How a Case Proceeds to Dependency Court

An attorney working in San Diego, Terry Chucas represents parents and children in dependency court appeals. Terry Chucas has been working as an attorney for over three decades and has handled thousands of cases with hundreds of trial appearances.

Typically, abuse and neglect cases that end up in the dependency court start with a reported concern. Reports that a child is being neglected or abused are investigated by a social worker, who interviews the child and other people involved in the report. The social worker can choose one of several courses of action.

If no evidence of abuse is found, the social worker can decide to take no action. If necessary, the social worker connects the parents with free services to help them raise their children more effectively and safely.

Alternately, the social worker may choose to leave the child in the care of the parents and file a petition with the court. The court then opens a case to protect the child.

In extreme cases, the social worker decides to remove the child from the parents’ care immediately. The social worker places the child with another relative or in a foster home and files a petition with the court to open a case to protect the child.

Types of Hearings in Dependency Court

Terry Chucas of San Diego possesses decades of experience as a family attorney. Selected for the Dependency Appellate Panel for the Fourth District Court of Appeal (San Diego), Terry Chucas represents parents and children in dependency court appeals.

In dependency court proceedings, there are three common types of hearings. Detention court hearings happen when children are removed from their parents. At the hearing, the judge decides if it is safe for the children to go back into the care of their parents until the next hearing.

In a jurisdictional hearing, the judge hears the allegations against a parent whose child has been removed. If the judge determines that the child is unsafe with his or her parents, the child will become a dependent of the court.

In a dispositional hearing, a judge determines what, if anything, a parent needs to do to improve conditions for his or her child. Dispositional hearings are sometimes a part of the jurisdictional hearing.

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