THE DISPOSITION HEARING


The disposition hearing is the most
important hearing in the juvenile dependency system. Hi my name is Vince
Davis and I’m an attorney here in California, I’m an expert in representing
parents and relatives in CPS and DCFS cases here in California. You know there
is something called the dispositional hearing in a juvenile dependency case
and I say it’s at the end of module 1 of the statutory scheme. So in a juvenile
dependency case you have the detention hearing, then you have what they do in
most counties, is a receipt of report and what they call a jurisdictional hearing
the – which is not a trial and then you can set the case for what to trial
either on the jurisdictional hearing the dispositional hearing or both. Now the
most important hearing is the dispositional hearing and here’s why. At
the dispositional hearing under Welfare and Institutions Code Section 361.3. The
social worker must prove two things in order to eat the child away from you. Number 1:
the social worker must prove that you are a substantial danger, not just a
danger, but a substantial danger to the child and by the way they have to prove
that by clear and convincing evidence. The second thing they have to prove is
they have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that there are no
less restrictive alternatives. So I’m going to give you an example of what I
did recently in order to win and get children back to their parents. In the
first case it was up in a northern California County and I subpoenaed from
the Department or the agency or CPS the person most knowledgeable on family
preservation services. Now family preservation services is a technical
term used in federal legislation. It’s money that the Department of Health and
Human Services allocates to each state each County
in order to keep families together so that children don’t have to be placed in
foster care. So let me give you an example here in LA they have something
called a Wraparound services in it’s where a team of counselors or teachers
come out to your home four days a week five days a week to teach you how to
parent the children to give you and/or your children individual counseling. Now
if someone’s coming out to your house four or five days a week they can check
on your children to make sure that they’re not in danger. That would be the
type of service the court needs to look at in order for them to decide whether
there are no reason less restrictive alternatives; and the sad thing is in
very few cases does the parent or the parent attorney bring this up. So in that
case in Northern California I subpoenaed the person most knowledgeable from the
department to come into court and tell us what services were available now when
I first served the subpoena the county counseled the attorney for the social
worker won’t me a couple and I’ll say unpleasant emails about that now I
didn’t know whether they didn’t want to bring in that person if they didn’t
have that type of person or if they just didn’t want to let the secret out of the
bag. But too my surprise the person did show up and it was obvious to me that
this person had not spoken really to the social worker or the county council
about the case. So I put this this person on the stand and it was a supervising
social worker to tell us and to tell the judge all the services that were
available to make sure children didn’t have to remain in foster care.
I think the County Council was shocked the minors attorney was shocked and I think
the judge was shocked to learn that all of these services are out there that
nobody brought up. So you want to make sure you always subpoena that person so that
you can prove that the social worker has proved by clear convincing evidence
that there are less restrictive alternatives. You’re probably watching
this video because you have questions and I answer questions like this every
day. If you have a question we give a free
consultation please call us call me at 888-888-6582 888-888-6582
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