About Juvenile Dependency
This page tells you about:
- What is Dependency Court?
- What does the Dependency Court do?
- Our Mission
Dependency Court is part of the Superior Court. It hears cases about children (minors) who are abused or neglected.
Read the laws for this court: Welfare and Institutions Code sections 300 .
The law says that Dependency Court has to protect the minors in the juvenile court.
The court tries to keep minors with their families and make the families stronger. The court will take a minor from the parents if it has to for the child’s well being and safety.
If the court takes a minor from the home, the court will work with the family and the minor to improve the home conditions so the child can move back home.
If the court takes a minor away from the family, the court will make sure that someone has custody of the minor. The minors will get the care and discipline they need to be safe and protected.
The goal of Santa Clara’s Dependency Court is to:
- Protect children
- Give them stability
- Keep families together
- Treat everyone with dignity
- Respect diversity, and
- Value every child like their own
The Juvenile Dependency Court is a court of law that focuses on the special needs of children and families. The Dependency Court wants to make sure that:
- When the court makes a decision, the most important thing is the child’s safety.
- Child welfare professionals plan and organize all the services for the family. And make sure they are practical.
- Families see the same professionals the whole time their case is in court.
- Children only live in 1 place until they get a permanent home.
- Every child will get a permanent home within 1-year after they leave the parents’ house.
- All professionals will give their services up-front. They will only use the court process as a last resort.
- All professionals will help the families solve their own problems.
- All professionals will try different ways to help families solve their problems, as long as it’s best for the child. This is called alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
- All professionals will encourage families and children to work with volunteers. The volunteers are trained to work in the dependency system.
- All professionals will get information about the child’s family to help the child and family. This can be:
- Medical histories
- Mental health histories
- School records, and
- Other information
- The court will give families a fair, fast, affordable, and accessible place to solve problems.
- The caretakers and professionals who work with the children will take care of all their medical, mental health care and learning needs.
- The Court will coordinate with other agencies, the lawyers and other courts so that any case involving the same child or family can be heard by the same judge.
- The Court will protect the family’s right to a fair and speedy trial.