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.