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What Happens at the Detention Hearing in My Juvenile Dependency / CPS Case?

California is a place where the utmost priority is to ensure the children are safe and in a good environment. Juvenile dependency is the system into which children are placed when social workers take them from their homes on the grounds of alleged abuse or neglect. The purpose of this system is to decide whether to hold a detention hearing and return the child to a parent or guardian.

What Does a Detention Hearing Involve?

When social workers remove a child from their home and place them in foster care, a court hearing known as a detention hearing is held eventually. This procedure is covered by Section 300 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code, which deals with CPS/Juvenile Dependency Cases. The hearing aims to determine whether the child should be released to a parent or guardian or placed in foster care. A judge will consider the facts presented against the parent or guardian at the hearing and decide based on several considerations, such as the child’s safety, the parent or guardian’s capacity to care for the child, and the possibility that the child may be safely maintained in the home with services in place.

How Does the Detention Process Start?

The child protection agency usually files a petition to start the detention hearing procedure.

In this petition, the claims made against the parent or guardian are listed, and the child is requested to be placed in foster care while the court case is being handled. 

The court schedules a detention hearing after the petition is filed, and this often happens a few days after the child is removed from the family. The parent or guardian and their legal representative will have the chance to submit evidence and make an argument for the child’s release into their custody during the detention hearing. Therefore, after examining the proof or evidence presented, the final decision takes place on whether the child will stay in foster or be placed with a parent or guardian. 

Detention Hearings Are Essential, But Why?

Detention hearings offer protection against the long-term, unjustifiable separation of children from their homes. They allowed children to be released from foster care and reconnected with their families in the interim. They make sure that when a child is in foster care, they are not exposed to needless trauma or deprivation.

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