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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.

I. GETTING STARTED

§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