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During the Summer of 2023, the County of San Diego began implementation of their newly created Child and Family Well-Being Department. Branded as a “new approach” to empowering parents, child, and extended family support, the goal is to utilize resources to strengthen the family unit and address issues that may lead to abuse or neglect.

Ideally, the unit is tasked with reducing child protective actions, and most notably, actions that separate children from their families, with a cross-sector collaborative approach.

Child Welfare Services, Behavioral Health Services, Juvenile Probation, San Diego County Office of Education, First Five, along with community based organizations, tribal partners and families with relevant lived experiences worked together to create the structure of the organization and the implementation of the overall plan.

Accessing plan prevention resources seems simple enough.  Resources can be accessed by self-referral, probation, CWS or CPS (including a hotline referral),  or any of the numerous community partners. From there, the family will need to actually utilize the services provided in the Prevention Hub.

Sometimes, issues persist. Sometimes, although some in the family are committed to making the family stronger, others are not, or different people have different approaches.  At times, families do not believe their children are truly at risk, when contacted.  Some families, choose other forms of assistance.  Some, do not get any help. 

However, when child welfare believes that children are being abused or neglected or at significant risk for abuse or neglect, CWS will still file a petition to remove the child. If reasonable efforts can be made to keep a minor in the home, those efforts should be taken to keep the minor in the home.  Yet, if the family has a history of declining services or is unwilling to collaborate with CWS, that may be enough to determine that no reasonable efforts would quash the situation.

From the start of the first contact, you can hire an attorney! 

You do not need to speak with anyone without an attorney present. But that attorney should be an experienced child welfare attorney. Julie is a Child Welfare Legal Specialist, a designation by the State Bar of California, the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC), and the American Bar Association. Julie has not only passed a written test but undergone a review from peers to attain and maintain the child welfare legal specialist certificate.

Minella Law Group can help, consulting with an experienced family law attorney who understands the issues can help alleviate your worries, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

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