20+ year of experience
Trial ready
Personal attention

Good People. Great Lawyers.
Outstanding Results. Find out if you have a case Find out if you have a case

Uh-Oh! People Think I Hurt My Kid! What Do I Do? – Child Abuse Allegations in California – Child Abuse and Child Neglect Allegations in California 2024

January 16, 2024

If you have been accused of child abuse or child neglect, it is crucial to get a CPS lawyer as soon as possible. You deserve to have a CPS lawyer 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 juvenile dependency attorneys at ALL Trial Lawyers by your side.

Uh-Oh! People Think I Hurt My Kid! What Do I Do? – Child Abuse Allegations in California – Child Abuse and Child Neglect Allegations in California

Today, we will talk about a serious topic: child abuse and child neglect allegations. It’s important to understand that sometimes parents may be accused of hurting or not taking care of their child.

These allegations can be scary, but don’t worry; we’re here to help

We will focus on what happens when someone is accused of child abuse in Orange County, California. 

What Is Child Abuse or Child Neglect in California?

California’s laws (WIC 300) specifically outline the definitions of child abuse and child neglect. These include:

  1. Physical Abuse: Child abuse includes inflicting physical harm or injury upon a child by any person responsible for the child’s care or custody. This can involve using unreasonable force, resulting in pain, injury, or impairment of the child’s physical condition (WIC 300(a)).
  2. Sexual Abuse: Child abuse encompasses sexual assault or exploitation of a child. It includes any sexual activity or contact with a child that is non-consensual or inappropriate for their age or developmental stage (WIC 300(a)).
  3. Neglect: Child abuse includes neglecting a child’s basic needs, such as adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision. It involves willfully failing to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, or educational well-being (WIC 300(b)).
  4. Severe Emotional Abuse: Child abuse includes subjecting a child to severe emotional abuse, such as constant belittlement, rejection, or humiliation, that has a detrimental impact on their emotional development. (WIC 300(a)).
  5. Willful Harm or Endangerment: Child abuse encompasses the willful harming or endangering of a child’s physical or emotional well-being. This includes engaging in behavior that poses a substantial risk of harm to the child, such as exposing them to domestic violence or substance abuse (WIC 300(g)).

It is important to note that these are general categories of child abuse outlined in WIC 300. The specifics and definitions may vary depending on each case’s jurisdiction (the County where the allegations occur) and circumstances. 

What is a Juvenile Dependency case in Orange County, California?

In Orange County, California, a juvenile dependency case refers to a legal proceeding that occurs when there are allegations of abuse, neglect, or abandonment of a child. It is initiated to ensure the safety and well-being of the child and to determine whether the child should be removed from their home or placed under the protective custody of the court.

The process begins when Child Protective Services (CPS), Social Services Agency (SSA), or another mandated reporter becomes aware of allegations or concerns regarding a child’s welfare. CPS investigates to assess the validity of the allegations and determine if the child is at risk of harm or neglect.

If CPS determines that the child is in danger, they may file a petition with the court to start a juvenile dependency case.

Once a petition is filed, a series of court hearings take place to address the allegations and make decisions regarding the child’s placement and care. These hearings typically involve the following steps:

  1. Detention Hearing: Shortly after the petition is filed, a detention hearing takes place to determine whether the child should be removed from their home and placed in protective custody or if they can remain with their parents or caregivers during the proceedings. The court considers the immediate safety and well-being of the child in making this decision.
  2. Jurisdictional Hearing: The jurisdictional hearing occurs within a specific timeframe after the detention hearing. At this hearing, the court reviews the evidence presented by social workers and county counsel. At this hearing, the court reviews the evidence presented by CPS and any other involved parties to determine if the allegations of abuse, neglect, or abandonment are substantiated. The court considers the child’s best interests and whether the evidence meets the legal threshold for finding the child to be a dependent of the court. If the court finds the allegations to be true, the case proceeds to the dispositional phase.
  3. Dispositional Hearing: During the dispositional hearing, the court determines the appropriate plan of care for the child. This includes deciding whether the child will remain in the custody of the parents or be placed in foster care, with relatives, or in another suitable arrangement. The court also addresses the services and support needed for the child and their family, such as counseling, parenting classes, or substance abuse treatment.
  4. Review Hearings: Review hearings are held periodically to monitor the case’s progress, assess the child’s well-being, and review the implementation of court-ordered services. The court evaluates the parents’ compliance with the service plans and makes adjustments as necessary to ensure the child’s safety and permanency.
  5. Permanency Planning Hearing: If the child cannot be reunified with their parents within a reasonable timeframe or if it is determined that reunification would not be in the child’s best interests, the court holds a permanency planning hearing. At this hearing, the court explores alternative options for the child’s long-term care, such as adoption, legal guardianship, or long-term foster care.
  6. Termination of Parental Rights: In cases where the court determines that it is in the child’s best interests to sever parental rights permanently, a termination of parental rights hearing may take place. This is a significant step that requires clear and compelling evidence that the parent is unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable home for the child.

It is essential to note that the specific procedures and timelines may vary based on the circumstances of each juvenile dependency case in Orange County. The court’s primary focus is always the child’s safety, well-being and the goal of achieving permanency in a nurturing and stable environment.

Legal representation and the involvement of social workers, therapists, and other professionals are integral to ensuring the best outcomes for the child and their family throughout the dependency process.

WHAT SHOULD YOU IF I’M ACCUSED OF CHILD ABUSE OR CHILD NEGLECT IN ORANGE COUNTY?

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

You deserve to have a CPS lawyer 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 juvenile 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) 811-4255.

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

Conclusion

Being accused of child abuse is a very serious matter, but it’s important to remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. Reach out for help, especially from a lawyer who can guide you through the juvenile dependency legal process. Remember, it’s essential to protect and keep children safe, but it’s also important to ensure fairness and justice for everyone involved.

Contact Us Today

All fields are required. If you need immediate assistance, do not hesitate to call us at (866) 811-4255.

*information required
  • Confidential Consultation
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.