Juvenile Dependency Court


Juvenile Dependency Court is VERY intimidating. Why wouldn’t it be? It is like meeting the ringleader of the kidnapping ring who has abducted your child and is holding them hostage. You don’t want to make any sudden moves, they have an armed guard protecting the kingpin. You don’t want to offend anyone, all you want to do is please and comply so they will give your child back. They place all these conditions on you under a false pretense of being “legal” but then when court is over and you are doing exactly what they said despite the obstacles, you begin to wish you just went to the FBI and let them take care of it. Each time you go to court the ransom holder lies about what you have and have not done and then you find out that the only person there who is supposed to be on you side – ISN’T. (Your “Attorney” works for them, its all a circus show to intimidate you).

Be sure to check out:



If you are in California and want to know what your rights are and what your attorney SHOULD BE DOING FOR YOU, be sure to look for the DOGBook (Juvenile Dependency Attorney’s Guide) it is in the column to the right.


The first thing you should know is that no matter what you think, no

matter what evidence YOU have, no matter what witnesses you have, no
matter how many family members show up in court to speak in support

At best, your children MAY be returned to you (it IS possible, I
have experienced it myself) but don’t expect it to be all over
with. No, you are just getting started.

At worst, your children will not be returned, will not be placed
with relatives and you will get minimal visitation which will be
supervised at the CPS office.

Either way, you will have to participate in “services” which may
include parenting classes, counseling, substance abuse assessment
and program, anger management, domestic violence prevention classes,
and often a psychological evaluation. If you have to attend a substance abuse
program that will include AA or NA meetings and random drug testing.
They consider drug testing a “service”. (They include this when they try to manipulate the rules and regulatory “Reasonable Efforts”). In every case, they want you to sign a “Case Plan”. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SIGN THIS DOCUMENT
LEGALLY BIND YOU TO IT. If I was to do it all over again I wouldn’t
give them the satisfaction of signing it. Don’t let them bully you
into believing that you have to sign it unless they can show you a
legal statute or code of law that requires you to sign it to receive
services. Here is proof that in California you do not have to sign
the case plan:

No Signature Required for Case Plan
Social workers will put a lot of effort into intimidating you,
taking advantage of their leverage which is ruling over your life by
dangling your children like a carrot on a sting in front of a
rabbit. If you don’t comply or if you give them any lip, they will
pull that carrot far from your reach. Try not to let them do this to
you. Be polite but firm. Say everything with a smile. You could even
tell them to go to hell as long as you say it nicely and with a
smile, they will think you are just joking or something. Social
workers are fairly un-intelligent when it comes right down to it.
That goes for many things that they say, if they say something is a
“law” tell them you want to know what code or statute it is.

So why is it not possible that your case will be dismissed
without having to cooperate with their case plan? Because the
“Judge” never dismisses any case. Why? Because it is RIGGED. The
“Judge”, who is often times just a commissioner or temp judge, is a
hired hand. Hired by CPS to be a “hearing officer”. The county pays
his or her salary. The county provides bonuses and fringe benefits
meanwhile, if they are a a “real” Judge who is benched at your local
courthouse in such departments as criminal, family or civil court,
this Judge will continue to receive their regular bench salary as
they have only taken a leave of absence while they do a three year
term for CPS in, what they make believe is a real court, Juvenile
Dependency “Court”. Guess what? CPS rents that room in the
courthouse. They rent the bailiff too.

The hearing officer has taken a crash course in Juvenile Dependency
law and procedure. This course is available online, I have a link to
it on the side bar.

[I took the course and passed, can I be your next “hearing officer”

The purpose and goals of the hearing officer are these which are
first and foremost for every case. 






This sounds fine doesn’t it? If they operated under these guidelines
I don’t see how parents could get railroaded and children removed
willy nilly. Most government officials believe that the “Judges” are
strictly adherent to these guidelines because that is the baloney
they spew from their mouths at every opportunity. What a show they
put on, I always wonder if they have themselves fooled as well.
After being in that court, in front of 5 different hearing officers
over a period of 4 years, I can assure you that the only goal of the
“Judge” is to look out for him employer, the county department of
social services and child protective services. This “Judge” will
make all of CPS’s recommended “findings and orders”, granting their
employer everything they ask for and sometimes more. Rarely will a
hearing officer make any “rulings” in your favor if they are
directly in conflict with CPS. Once in a while they try to make it
look good so they will say something that CPS did or didn’t do
wasn’t fair but it won’t last, the hearing officer will act like
they never said it at the next hearing and it won’t be in the minute
order. This person favors county counsel evidenced by the fact that
the county is never overruled. In fact, I have watched as one
hearing officer actually gave the county advice on how to proceed in
their best interests.

Now your “lawyer” is not from the Public Defenders Office. In
Riverside County, California, they too are hired hands although, in
a round about way just for looks. This “Defense Panel” is a group of
individual subcontractors working for a law firm who is contracted
by the county (CPS).&nbsp; They are supposed to do a lot of things
for you but they don’t. They are overworked, underpaid and
underappreciated (in their mind because I certainly didn’t
appreciate the lack of effort and the lack of OBJECTIONS in which my
“attorney” represented me). If these “attorneys” diligently worked
for their “clients” than CPS wouldn’t be getting away with playing
God. I bet the Juvenile Dependency Quick Guide is full of dust
somewhere in their office, if they can even afford to have one.

Here is a copy of one of the county’s contracts for attorney
services for the parents and children:


Minor’s counsel is one of these attorneys. In Riverside County,
Minor’s counsel is also appointed as the child’s GAL (guardian ad
litem) which I believe is completely wrong. GAL’s are supposed to be
completely unbiased but if their paychecks come from the county, how
fair and unbiased could they be? 

Have you noticed how cocky the social workers are? They are always
so certain that nothing will happen to them for lying and falsifying
evidence and they are right, nothing happens to them even when you sue them afterwards! *** The county’s goal is to keep themselves
working and receiving as much funding as possible. They get off on
the power that they have over parents and children, feeding off all
the emotions and distress and making jokes about it. Seriously, I
know for a fact that they compare the evil things that they do while
in the office, literally competing for the most intimating, most
humiliating and most emotion-provoking statement they can make
without getting beaten up. Let’s face it, the county only cares
about the county. Here is Riverside’s stated goals:





Terminology that you should know:



Juvenile Dependency Court:   CPS court 


         For CPS= County counsel                                 For Child(ren): Minor’s counsel

         For Father/Mother= Juvenile Defense Panel

        Juvenile Defense Panel= Independent contractors who work for the law firm contracted by the County.  *These attorneys are not the same as a criminal “Public Defender” appointed by the actual court,they are paid by DPSS so don’t expect these people to actually look out for your best interests.

         Private Counsel= A lawyer a person hires for pay or pro bono on their own

 Adoption: When someone else gets to keep your child for good and you have no more say in their upbringing

 Admit: To say the allegations are true


 Alleged father:  In California, an “alleged father” is a man who is identified by the mother as the possible birth father of her child. An alleged father is not married to the birth mother and has not lived with the child and the birth mother after the child was born   Presumed father:  Presumed father refers to an individual whom the law presumes, until shown otherwise, to be the legal father of a child. A presumed father may not be the actual biological father of the child. A presumed father can be a married man who is married to the mother when the child was conceived or born; an individual who has legally agreed to be the father of his wife’s child or has acted and behaved as if the child was his own.

 Appeal:  Asking another court to review the decisions that the court made. Unless your lawyer MAKES OBJECTIONS ON THE RECORD IN COURT DURING A HEARING OR FLIES ANY MOTION OBJECTING TO ALLEGATIONS, REASONABLE EFFORTS, AND/OR DECISIONS THAT WERE MADE you will not win your appeal due to “No appealable issues”. You can try, by all means, file an appeal after every hearing if you feel the decision was based on false allegations and false evidence or even if you simply don’t like the hearing officer’s “orders”. Some parents have had success by legally bitching at every opportunity.

 ASFA: The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA, Public Law 105-89) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 19, 1997 after having been approved by the United States Congress earlier. Many problems had stemmed from an earlier bill, the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980,[1] giving the states ample funding for programs for the parents, keeping more families together. ASFA amended Title IV-E of the Social Security Act regarding funding. .ASFA was enacted and disguised as  an attempt to correct problems that were inherent in the foster care system. That being that too many children were lingering in foster care. This Act promotes and awards counties to provide a “permanent home” for all children. There was some highlight regarding the adoption of children with special needs.only to distract the public from its real purpose, to separate families faster and to provide the states with special “adoption incentives”. During the past few years many budget cuts have left the counties money-starved therefore, cutbacks on program funding has inspired them to do whatever it takes for the adoption incentive funding which has not been cut, in fact, these budgets have increased.

 Baliff:        The cop in the courtroom.

 Best interests of the child: The magic phrase that gives CPS and their court cohorts free reign to do whatever they want as long as they SAY it is in the “best interests of the child”.

Rules of Ct. (California Rules of Court): Set of rules that all California courts must follow. The court cohorts will use these rules against you yet for the county is allowed to disregard them whenever they want.

 CAPTA:  Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (Public Law 93-247) provides federal funding to States in support of prevention, assessment, investigation, prosecution, and treatment activities and also provides grants to public agencies and nonprofit organizations for demonstration programs and projects

 CASA:  Sometimes the court does not appoint the child an attorney, instead they get a Court Appointed Special Advocate

 Case law: Significant cases from the past that challenged the laws and used to apply the laws in a particular manner

Case plan: The list of “services” that are to be provided to you and your family. Mostly, all of the hoops you have to jump through to get your children back and the case closed.

          You do not have to sign this document to receive services, signing it legally binds you to it

Clear and convincing:  A standard of proof and evidence that supports a finding of fact presented by a party during the trial must be highly and substantially more probable to be true than not. This standard is NOT used in Juvenile Dependency Court rather, the standard that is used is called a “preponderance” of evidence. See definition further down in this list.

 Courtroom Clerk:       The court employee hired by CPS and sits next to the hearing officer (“Judge”) and performs administrative tasks for the hearing officer. This clerk also records the hearing minutes.

 Clerk’s transcript: Case file (Parents & children have a right to their case file. The clerk will charge you per page. If you file an appeal (you can appeal any decision that the Judge makes) you can get your case file documents for free, including the Reporter’s Transcript.)

 Consent: Giving someone permission to do something in which they couldn’t do without your permission

 Continuance: Rescheduling the hearing to a future date

 Counting time:

         Calendar days:  Straight days (including weekends and holidays)

         Court days:  Days that the court is open and conducting business as usual (Mon.-Fri. excluding holidays)

         Judicial days: Same as court days


 Court-ordered services:  The programs you must participate in to possibly get your child back

 Courthouse  clerk:  The section in the courthouse where there are windows to file documents, pay fines, get copies of your case file

 Date the child entered foster care: The date the court sustainted the petition (declared the child a dependent of the court) or 60 days after the initial removal

 Dependency vs. Delinquency:Dependency is when they take, or want to take, your child from you, delinquency is when your child gets in trouble (minor’s criminal court)

 Dependency: When the Judge rules that your child’s legal guardian is the state

 Detention:The removal of your child from your custody

 Detention hearing:the 1st hearing after they remove your child [MUST BE WITHIN 48 HOURS OF REMOVAL]

Disposition: The decision the court makes as to whether or not the court declares your child(ren) a “ward” of the court (dependency)

 Due diligence: A reasonable amount of effort to do something

Ex-parte: An ex parte judicial proceeding is conducted for the benefit of only one party and done on an emergency basis. Ex parte may also describe contact with a person represented by an attorney, outside the presence of the attorney

Findings & Orders: The determinations the Judge makes on the record. The Clerk is supposed to prepare a document called “Findings and Orders after Hearing” and serve it by mail to all parties (in Riverside County they do not do this and that makes the order null and void however, this is completely ignored and everyone thinks its legal)

 Guardian ad litem: Person appointed by a court to represent the interests of an incapacitated, mentally handicapped, or minor person in a court case

 ICWA-The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a federal law that seeks to keep American Indian children with American Indian families. Congress passed ICWA in 1978

 Intitial Removal: The date the child(ren) was taken into custody by the social worker or police officer

 In Re: The name of the child(ren) is the name of the case meaning  ‘In regards to”

 Jurisdiction: The court’s control over you and your family

 Minute Order:A summary of what happened in court

 No-contest: Neither admit or deny the allegations and that regardless of the truth of them, you are willing to participate in the case plan

 Notice:  Informing the parties of a hearing date or motion filed.  Proper Notice:  Actually informing someone and having proof of doing so (Proof of Service is the document that is filed with the court swearing under oath that notice was properly given)

Overrulled: When someone says, “objection” during a court hearing and the Judge says, “Too bad, deal with it.”

Sustained: When someone says, “objection” during a court hearing and the Judge says, “Ok, you’re right.” And whatever was objected to is not supposed to be relevant or taken into consideration for the Court’s decision. The appellate court must disregard whatever was objected to as well unless the decision to sustain the objection was illegal.

 Parentage: Establishing formal paternity, most often the child(ren)’s father

 The  parties: Parents, children and caregivers from whom the child was removed,

“The Department”: CPS (Department of Social Services, DCFS, DPSS, etc.)

 Perjury: A statement a person makes that they know to be false and given after taking an oath to tell the truth

 Permanency: The goal to terminate dependency after they permanently place your child in a home

 Petition: A form document that is filed with a court requesting that the court make a legal determination

 Petitioner: The party who files the intial claim, document or complaint. In Juvenile Dependency it is The Department of Social Services

 Preponderance: A finding of fact based upon minimal evidence that is more likely than not to be true

 Prima facie:  Evidence relied upon at “first sight” without rebuttal or oppositional argument (Looks like a duck so it’s a duck)

 Reporter:   Transcriptionist who types up everything spoken on the record

Reporter’s Transcript:  A typed version of everything that was spoken on the record in court during the hearing (word for word).           You can request this from the reporter directly. You can ask a lawyer after the hearing to speak to the Reporter or you may be able to find out how to order copies of hearing transcripts on the court’s website.

 Respondent: The person who the claim, petition or complaint is filed against. In Juvenile Dependency, it is the parents or other original caregiver

 Reasonable Efforts: CPS is supposed to offer their help to families prior to removing children such as: counseling, parenting classes, home visiting, substance abuse programs, informal supervision. [THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT PHRASE, LISTEN FOR IT AND OBJECT TO THE SOCIAL WORKER’S REASONABLE EFFORTS]

 Reunification: The return of your child(ren) when they are finished receiving all of the ransom money from the government. Due to budget cuts and the County’s need for the adoption incentive funds, this is just a cover word, to give the impression that they are abiding by federal regulations and state statutes. Like when you have to sign any kind of contract or install software or apps onto your computer and clicking “I have read the terms and conditions of using this software and i agree to the entire thing”  but not really reading any of it. You just say that you did and swearing that you did.

 Services: The programs they make you do such as counseling, parenting, substance abuse programs, drug testing, etc.

 Termination of Services: When DPSS no longer pays for your “services” and move forward to adopt out your child

 Termination of Parental Rights: Removing all your legal rights to your child

 Title IV-E: Money CPS gets from the federal Social Security Administration (tax $)

Welfare & Institutions Code: Laws made by the state in regards to public assistance programs (social services, mental health facilities & jails)





*** It took Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick 6 ½years to regain custody of her children.

The jury award given to Fogarty-Hardwick included damages against the two social workers. The Supreme Court also upheld $1.6 million in attorneys fees for Fogarty-Hardwick’s attorneys, but that could end being as much as $3 million, Fogarty-Hardwick’s attorney Shawn McMillan said.

The county and the two social workers will also be responsible for paying interest which has accrued on the $4.9 million jury award over the last four years, bringing the grand total close to $9.3 million, McMillan said.

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