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Part 1 of the course presents an overview of general procedures and then leads you through the initial proceedings in dependency cases.


§1.01 Goals of Dependency Proceedings

Goals of dependency proceedings are to [see WIC §300.2]:
  • Preserve the family and provide for the safety, protection, and physical and emotional well-being of the child.
  • If intervention is necessary for the child’s safety, make substantial efforts to keep the child at home with protections and services.
  • Attain a timely and permanent solution for the child's care.
  • Protect the child’s privacy rights through confidentiality of proceedings and records.

You must consider the totality of the child's circumstances when making decisions in a dependency proceeding. [In re Alexandria M. (2007) 156 CA4th 1088, 1095.] Your exercise of jurisdiction over a child must be based on existing and reasonably foreseeable future harm to the welfare of the child. [In re D.R. (2007) 155 CA4th 480, 486–487.]

Evidence of a single incident may or may not be sufficient to find a child is currently at risk of harm. [In re J.N. (2010) 181 CA4th 1010, 1024.]

Fundamentally, the focus of the dependency system is on the child, not the parents. [D.M. v Superior Court (2009) 173 CA4th 1117, 1129.]

The juvenile court’s authority to control a parent’s behavior is not direct in dependency cases, but ancillary to the court’s jurisdiction over the child. Thus, a parent’s compliance with court orders is a condition placed on a parent’s reunification with the child. [In re Nolan (2009) 45 C4th 1217, 1232.]

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© 2006 by Judicial Council of California
updated as of January 1, 2012