Juve­nile Cases

Juve­nile cases fall into two cat­e­gories: Juve­nile Depen­dency and Juve­nile Delinquency.

Juve­nile Depen­dency cases are those cases in which the local Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices or Child Pro­tec­tive Ser­vices agency files a peti­tion with the Juve­nile Court assert­ing that a child has been aban­doned, abused and or neglected by their par­ents or legal guardians.  Most often the local agency is alerted of the abuse by a local law enforce­ment agency, school offi­cial or other man­dated report.

If the social ser­vices agency believes that the child is at imme­di­ate risk, they may phys­i­cally remove the child from the parent’s home and place the child in fos­ter care or a relative’s home until the issue can be addressed in juve­nile court.  At that time, the Social Worker has two days to file a peti­tion with the Juve­nile Court ask­ing that the child be made a depen­dent of the court.  This first hear­ing with the juve­nile court is called an Ini­tial Hear­ing where the court makes orders regard­ing who will care for the child, where the child will stay and other interim orders to ensure the safety of the child.

At the next hear­ing called the Juris­dic­tional Hear­ing, the court will then decide whether the peti­tion filed by the local social ser­vices agency is true.  If the peti­tion is found to be true, the child can be made a depen­dent of the court and the court could return the child to the par­ent or guardian if the court finds there is not a sub­stan­tial risk to the child’s safety, pro­tec­tion or emo­tional well being.  How­ever, in many cir­cum­stances, the court does not return the child to the par­ent or guardian but rather orders the par­ent or guardian to par­tic­i­pate in a reuni­fi­ca­tion case plan.  The reuni­fi­ca­tion case plan often includes coun­sel­ing for the par­ent, par­ent­ing classes, anger man­age­ment and sub­stance abuse test­ing and treat­ment.  If the par­ent or guardian does not make sub­stan­tive progress in the reuni­fi­ca­tion case plan, the court could ter­mi­nate reuni­fi­ca­tion efforts with the par­ent and the court would then be required to imple­ment an alter­na­tive per­ma­nent plan for the child includ­ing adop­tion, guardian­ship or long term fos­ter care.  If the court imple­ments a per­ma­nent plan of adop­tion it would ter­mi­nate the parent’s rights.

These cases are extremely impor­tant.  A par­ent or guardian should seek to hire an attor­ney early in the process so they can be prop­erly advised on how to reunify with their child.  Both Mr. DeDecker & Mr. Meltzer have han­dled hun­dreds of these types of juve­nile cases.  Both have been suc­cess­ful in reuni­fy­ing chil­dren with their par­ents.  They have fought to have cases dis­missed out­right.  Addi­tion­ally, they have assisted their clients in fol­low­ing the reuni­fi­ca­tion case plan to reunify with their chil­dren.  Mr. DeDecker & Mr. Meltzer have each won sev­eral juve­nile tri­als.  They have exten­sive expe­ri­ence in the juve­nile sys­tem to help you.


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203 Wil­low St. Suite. 204
San Fran­cisco, CA 94109
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Fax: (866) 855‑9737

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Napa, CA 94558
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None of the infor­ma­tion on this site con­sti­tutes legal advice. It is an ad for attor­ney ser­vices. The attor­neys at DeDecker & Meltzer are licensed attor­neys in the state of Cal­i­for­nia. The infor­ma­tion is intended to be gen­eral in nature as there are many laws and reg­u­la­tions not men­tioned on this site that may apply to your sit­u­a­tion.