What is a Detention Hearing?

At the initial Detention Hearing, the Dependency Judge will make a determination whether or not the child should be detained. The Court will determine where the child will stay, whether visitation will be allowed and whether services will be provided. The mother, father and child will each be assigned their own attorney. Private counsel can also be retained to represent you in the dependency court.

The social worker will prepare a report containing the allegations and the findings from their emergency investigation. The parent has a right to cross examine the preparer of the report and the witnesses whose statements are contained in that report.

The court will consider whether “reasonable efforts” have been made by the social worker to “prevent or eliminate the need for removal”. The reasonable efforts include case management, counseling, emergency shelter care, parenting training, transportation, and any other child welfare services authorized by the County. If the child is detained the court shall determine and report on what relatives are available for placement. As an alternative, the court may consider an emergency shelter or foster home if relative placement is not possible or the life-scan has not yet been completed.

In other words, the dependency court will decide temporary custody of the child while the case is further investigated. The Judge will generally order visitation and order you to start some parenting program and/ or specialized counseling program. The court will set a further court date for a jurisdictional/disposition hearing.

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