The child welfare system is referred to as "juvenile dependency." These cases involve the Department of Human Services or DHS through Child Protective Services and usually involve an accusation that one or both parents have abused or neglected a child. A juvenile dependency case starts when DHS attempts to assert legal custody or jurisdiction over children based on concerns regarding the safety of the children in the care of their parents or legal guardians. If DHS succeeds in establishing jurisdiction, the juvenile court can place the children in foster care. In the most serious cases, the court can approve a permanent plan such as adoption or guardianship.
Child welfare cases are very complex and require a specialized set of skills. Stacey Lamont Diedrich has represented hundreds of families in juvenile dependency cases and has helped parents obtain a successful resolution of their case. It is important to seek legal advice and counsel as quickly as possible in a child abuse or neglect investigation. It is also important to understand your rights both as a parent or concerned family member. DHS involvement may be unreasonable or unfounded. In those circumstances, a contested hearing should occur to determine whether the caseworker is properly involved. Often, even if a parent is preparing for a contested hearing, cooperating with DHS is in the parents' best interests.
If you or a family member is being investigated for child abuse or neglect or if you are a relative caregiver attempting to create a safe plan for a child, Stacey Lamont Diedrich has the experience to advise you as to the best strategy for your family.
Often a child welfare investigation also involves the possibility of criminal charges and family law implications such as a change in custody or a guardianship proceeding. The Law Offices of Stacey Lamont Diedrich can help you coordinate these issues to make sure you are protected throughout this difficult chapter in your family's life