Juvenile Dependency actions involve alleged abuse or neglect of a child by a parent or caregiver.
- The goal of these proceedings is to protect children and preserve or reunify families whenever possible.
- Initially, the court must determine whether the allegations of child abuse or neglect are true and whether the child should be removed from the home and made a dependent of the court.
- When it is not in the child's best interest to return the child to his or her parents, the goal is to provide a permanent placement for the child with a relative, guardian, foster family, or adoptive parent.
For an overview of what happens in a dependency proceeding, please refer to the following: Guide to Dependency Court and The Dependency Court – How It Works.
Substance Abuse Programs
Through a collaboration between the court and other community partners, the following programs are available for parents of dependent children:
- Drug treatment for parents who have substance abuse problems.
- Dependency Drug Court for parents who need extra monitoring by the court to stay clean and sober.
The community partners include: Health and Human Services Agency; Alcohol and Drug Services; County Counsel; the Dependency Legal Group of San Diego.
Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)
CASAs are volunteers who help the court and social workers determine how best to help dependent children. They are recruited, trained and supervised by a private agency, Voices for Children, which has an office in each of the regional courthouses and at the main Juvenile Court.