Juvenile law is an extremely complex area fraught with the heightened emotions and competing concerns that can come from being responsible for a child’s welfare; dependency cases often arise when a state agency has concerns regarding the care a minor child is receiving from their parents or other primary caregivers. As a result, the agency may question whether or not the Juvenile Court should have legal jurisdiction over that child.
If concerns are raised that a child has been neglected, abused, or a child’s parents are unable to provide proper care because of substance abuse or severe mental health issues, the state may get involved. In such situations it is essential for the parents of that child to seek legal representation immediately. If the Juvenile Court system is concerned that abuse or neglect has occurred, there is a significant risk that the child may be removed from the home and placed under protective custody.
Juvenile dependency cases can be extremely complex and are often intertwined with other family law or criminal cases. Dependency cases often start with state officials investigating the child’s situation and assessing whether or not the child is at risk; the child’s living situation may be thoroughly investigated, and the parents or caretakers interviewed to determine the validity of any concerns or allegations. Depending on the circumstances, the mental and physical health of the child may be evaluated, the child may be placed into protective custody, and the caretaker or parents may face criminal investigation.
The highly experienced attorneys at McKean Smith are ready and able to represent minors, parents, or guardians in juvenile court dependency proceedings and help you navigate the complex juvenile justice system.