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To remove a child from a home, without parental consent or exigent circumstances, CWS or law enforcement need to have attained a Warrant from a Judge. 

If CWS has removed your child, you should act quickly to seek out advice from an experienced attorney. 

Once the child is removed from home, a Petition under California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 300 must be filed detailing information supporting the allegation of abuse or neglect or substantial risk of abuse or neglect. 

From there, the Court must hold a Detention Hearing no more than five (5) business days from the date of the minor’s removal. Unfortunately, weekends and holidays do not count here. So, with a weekend and a holiday day, you can legally go for over a week from your child’s removal without the ability to be heard by a Judge, under Welfare and Institution Code Section 315.  Use this time wisely.  

At the Detention Hearing, your child will be appointed an Attorney from Children’s Legal Services of San Diego because this firm has the contract in San Diego County to represent minors in Juvenile Dependency Hearings. You have no choice as to your child’s representation.

You do, however, have a choice in your representation.

The Court may appoint a government attorney to you. These attorneys often have a very high case load, into the hundreds of cases. You may elect to hire your own attorney.  If you do, make sure you hire an attorney with knowledge and experience in San Diego County

Ms. Wolff is a Child Welfare Legal Specialist, CWLS, which means she passed a long written test as well as an evaluation and is not new to Juvenile Court. This qualification is designated by the State Bar of California, The National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) and the American Bar Association.  Any experienced child welfare attorney can take the exam.

You will find that many of the attorneys in the contracted firms do not hold this specialization.  This is another reason to hire your own attorney!  

At the Detention Hearing, the County Counsel, Minors Counsel, and your attorney will all appear in front of the Judge.  Each parent must have his or her own attorney in Juvenile Court.  This first hearing is the first opportunity to request your child go back home.  Also, at this hearing, the Judge will address the child’s Paternity and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

The Indian Child Welfare Act is a Federal Law that requires the noticing of tribes for a child who may be of Indian decent, under this Act.  Paternity Status is both confusing and important. A parent who is Biological is not entitled to services or even visitation. But, a Presumed Parent, is entitled to both (except under rare exceptions).  Another reason to hire an experienced attorney.

Chances are, you do not want your child in a group home. The Detention Hearing provides the ability for relatives and important family connections to request placement of the child. So, even if the child is not with you, you can be assured that your child is with a loving person who you know and trust.

CWS must make reasonable efforts to keep the minor in your home.  Reasonable Efforts can be voluntary services such as substance abuse testing, having one parent move out of the home, having a grandparent move into the home, mental health services, and an array of other actions.  Sometimes, CWS does not work very hard in their reasonable efforts. Just another reason to have an experienced attorney fighting for you and your family.

If your child has been removed, the time is now. Act quickly to attain representation who is experienced in child welfare law, a seasoned in court advocate, and someone with the time and resources to give your case the attention it deserves. 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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