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§1.03 How a Child Enters the Juvenile Dependency System

[1] By Social Worker
[2] By Peace Officer
[3] Parents Informed of Detention

[1] By Social Worker

A social worker in a county welfare department may receive or take a child into temporary custody [WIC §306(a)]:

  • Who is described by WIC §300 [see Part 2, §4.02], and was delivered by a peace officer;
  • Who was declared a dependent child of the juvenile court; or
  • Who has suffered or is at substantial risk of suffering serious physical harm because parents or guardians:
    • failed or are unable to adequately supervise or protect the child;
    • failed to adequately supervise or protect the child from the custodian with whom the child has been left;
    • willfully or negligently failed to provide adequate food, clothing shelter, or medical care;
    • failed to provide regular medical care due to the parent or guardian’s mental illness, developmental disability or substance abuse; or
    • abandoned the child without any provision for support.

[2] By Peace Officer

A peace officer may take a child into temporary custody who the officer has reasonable cause to believe is a person described by WIC §300 and who [WIC §305(a)]:

  • Is in immediate need of medical care;
  • Is in immediate danger of physical or sexual abuse;
  • Lives somewhere that poses an immediate threat to health or safety; or
  • Was left unattended, which poses an immediate threat to health or safety. [See also WIC §305(b)(d) [other grounds].]

[3] Parents Informed of Detention

The social worker or peace officer must immediately inform the parents, guardian, or responsible relative as quickly as possible that the child was taken into protective custody and that a written statement explaining their rights is available. [WIC §307.4(a).]

Caution Caution

REFERENCE >> See Flowchart of Dependency Proceedings. See also the California Dependency Online Guide (or "caldog"), which provides assistance to attorneys, judicial officers, and other professionals working in California's child welfare system.

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