For children, the best place for them should be home. A stable home life allows your children to grow and sets them up for not only future personal success but provides a guide to what home life should look when they start a family of their own. However, sometimes home life is disrupted by authorities who believe your child is in danger.
We’ve previously talked about juvenile dependency laws in California. Certain authorities have the ability to review a child’s situation and remove them from their home if the situation is deemed to be dangerous and nonconducive to a healthy lifestyle. Generally, you will be involved in this process as officials interview you and other family members before making a decision to remove your child. If this process results in your child being removed, it’s important to know your rights and the next steps.
The social worker assigned to your child’s case will notify you of initial court proceedings. The first date is generally referred to as a detention hearing. It is imperative that you not only attend this and ALL court hearings you are permitted to attend, but that you also do so by arriving on time and well-dressed and groomed. The courts have your child’s best interests in mind, so the way you present yourself is key in showing them you can provide a capable support system.
The preparation for court dates factors into this, as well. You will want to find the right juvenile dependency lawyer for your case, and you will want to work with them closely. Be in lockstep with your lawyer so when you get to court it’s clear this case is your main priority. If you show up to court and haven’t given your lawyer the resources to prepare for your case you could lose the courts on day one.
While mistakes are made, the court probably has good reason to consider taking your child out of your care. During disposition hearings, the court at least wants to understand your plan to make home life better for your child.
If you’re unable to admit your own mistakes you won’t be able to come up with ways to fix them. Your goal should be to make it clear your child should be home with you, so what does a good home life look like for your child? This could include taking steps to prevent dangerous individuals from entering your home, allocating more income to hygiene and food, and even making sure your child has privacy among other changes.
Oftentimes, children are removed from homes where the parent is doing right by them but a partner or close friend who lives in or frequents the home puts the child in danger. You may need to make some tough decisions about who you let into your child’s life. You can only control your own actions, so you have to show the court a willingness to cut out individuals whose actions are out of control and put your child in harm’s way.
Putting your child first also means putting yourself second. The court may even push you to consider changing careers to better serve and be present for your child. Take a thorough look at your life, the people in it, and the life choices you’re making to find a way of living that best suits the needs of your child.
If you’re unable to afford an attorney, the court will provide one. However, this should never be your default because court-appointed attorneys are sometimes inexperienced, overworked, and/or unable to cater to your individual needs.
At Carroll Law Office, we want to get your child back home and under your care. Contact us today and put your child first. We want to help you simplify life’s complexities.
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