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What is a Child Dependency Case in Orange County?

June 15, 2024

What is a child dependency lawyer in Orange County? ALL Trial Lawyers is the best child dependency lawyer in Orange County

What is a Child Dependency Case in Orange County?

Navigating the complexities of child dependency cases in Orange County can be overwhelming for parents. Knowing your rights, understanding juvenile court proceedings, and being aware of available services can significantly affect how you handle these challenging situations.

This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive overview of child dependency cases, offering valuable insights for parents looking to hire juvenile dependency lawyers and protect their parental rights.

What is a Child Dependency Case?

Child dependency cases are legal proceedings that determine whether a child’s parent or guardian is abusive or neglectful.

If necessary, the juvenile court may temporarily or permanently remove the child from the home. Temporary removal often includes family reunification services aimed at returning the child home.

In contrast, permanent removal could lead to the termination of parental rights and the child’s adoption.

WIC 300 and Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

Under the California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 300 (the law governing juvenile dependency proceedings), a judge may make a child a dependent of the court if they have suffered or are at substantial risk of suffering child abuse or neglect, including serious physical harm, sexual abuse, severe emotional damage, or neglect.

Here are the key definitions:

  • Physical Abuse: Any non-accidental physical injury inflicted on a child.
  • Sexual Abuse: Includes sexual assault, exploitation, or allowing a child to engage in sexual activities.
  • Neglect: Failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision.
  • Emotional Abuse: Exposure to chronic or severe neglect or emotional harm.
  • Severe Physical Harm: Any form of physical harm that is severe enough to require intervention.
  • Failure to Protect: A situation where a parent or guardian has not taken adequate steps to prevent harm or abuse to a child.
  • Abandonment: Leaving a child without proper care, supervision, or any means of identification.

Parental drug addiction and untreated mental illness are also common triggers for these proceedings.

The Dependency Proceedings Process

Dependency proceedings typically begin with reports to the police or Child Protective Services (CPS). If there is evidence of abuse or neglect, several steps may follow:

  1. Initial Report: Teachers, doctors, or other mandatory reporters make a report.
  2. Investigation: CPS or law enforcement investigates the report.
  3. Petition Filing: If warranted, CPS files a petition in juvenile court.
  4. Removal: A juvenile court judge must approve the removal of the child from the home.
  5. Placement: The child may be placed with relatives in foster care or group homes.
  6. Services: If appropriate, the court can order family reunification services and periodic reviews.
  7. Termination of Parental Rights: The court can permanently terminate a parent’s rights and remove the child permanently from the home.

Family Reunification Services

Sometimes, a court may order the parent to engage in reunification services. These services aim to address issues that led to the dependency case and may include:

  • Parenting classes
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Mental health services
  • Household management classes
  • Employment or educational requirements

Possible Outcomes of Dependency Cases

If a court finds a parent unfit, it has several options:

  • Terminating Parental Rights: The child is then placed for adoption.
  • Appointing a Legal Guardian: The child is placed with a relative or in a group home.
  • Foster Care: Older children, in particular, may remain in foster care if not adopted.

If the court finds a parent fit, it can reunify parents with their children.


If you have been accused of abuse or neglect, it is crucial to get an experienced child abuse lawyer as soon as possible.

You deserve to have a child dependency attorney who will help you fight to get your children back. If you are dealing with a juvenile dependency case, child-welfare services case, or CPS case in California, you need the child dependency attorneys at ALL Trial Lawyers by your side.

Don’t risk calling the wrong lawyer. If CPS is investigating you, you do not have to deal with them alone. 

We know how the juvenile court process in California works. We have handled hundreds of juvenile dependency cases in Orange CountySan Diego CountyLos Angeles CountySan Bernardino County, and Riverside County.

Whether you are in Newport BeachIrvineFullertonLaguna HillsMission ViejoGarden GroveAnaheim, or any city in Orange County, we are here to help.

We have an office located near you, and we’re ready to start working on your case.

Call us now to speak to a CPS lawyer and for your free consultation. Call (866) 963-0892.

Dealing with a CPS case can be scary. You don’t have to face a CPS case alone.

Our Orange County Child Dependency Lawyers Offices


Understanding the nuances of child dependency cases is crucial for any parent involved in such proceedings.

By staying informed about your rights, the legal process, and the services available, you can better navigate these difficult situations and work towards the best outcome for your child and your family.

If you find yourself facing a child dependency case, seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable juvenile dependency lawyer can provide the guidance and support needed to protect your parental rights and work towards reunification with your child.

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