Certified Dependency Attorney
Michelle Evans is a certified Dependency court attorney with extensive experience representing individuals in cases involving the Human Services Agency’s Children and Family Services in Ventura County.
Helping Parents, Relatives and Foster Families in Ventura County
What is “Dependency” Court?:
Juvenile Dependency Law is designed to protect children from abuse or neglect. When abuse or neglect presents an immediate danger to children, Juvenile Dependency Court will typically remove the children from the care of their parents. Dependency Law becomes a factor when children are removed from the parent’s home due to allegations of abuse, child neglect, drug use or abandonment – to name a few.
The children are often placed with relatives, family friends or in a certified foster home. The court can require the parents to complete a case plan in order to show that they are working to resolve the problems that lead to their children being removed. During this time, the parents usually have frequent visitation with their children. If the parents rehabilitate themselves, then their children are gradually placed back into their care, and their case is eventually dismissed. If the parents are unable to resolve their issues, the court considers an alternative plan such as guardianship or adoption by a relative, family friend, or foster family.
Reunifying with your children:
Michelle Evans represents parents in Dependency court who are trying to get their children back in their custody. At the Law Office of Michelle Evans, APC, we care what happens to our clients and their families. We also care about how they feel when they are experiencing what may be the most difficult days of their lives. Reports of child abuse can come from almost any source. Child Welfare Services is required to remove children that are endangered. But what if the report is inaccurate, or based on rumor? You still face proving that you are a good parent to your child and fighting to get them back into your own home. Because many reports of child abuse or neglect can be resolved without court intervention, it is wise to seek a juvenile dependency lawyer as soon as possible to get the best result possible.
Family Members and Friends of Family:
Where the Child Will Live?
In many cases, if child neglect or abuse is suspected a social worker from Children and Family Services may come into the home and remove the child. If the court determines that the child cannot safely be placed back with their parent(s) immediately, then the law states that the social workers have a duty to locate family members and try to place the children within the family. The court prefers to place a child with a parent or relative because this type of placement can be familiar to the child. Sometimes family members are not made aware of the situation, or their contact information is not given to the Agency from the beginning of the case. Once the child is placed in a foster home, it can be difficult to have the child removed from the foster home and placed with a relative. Juvenile Dependency cases can be extremely stressful and complex. Our firm also represents relatives or family friends who are trying to get children placed in their care.
Foster Parents/De Facto Parents
Rights of Foster Parents in Ensuring A Child’s Safety From Harm
Sadly, it is sometimes the case that no family members are able or willing to take in children that have been removed from their parents. Ventura County is fortunate enough to have an exceptional and extensive Foster Parent community that consists of many families who are ready, willing, and able to help care for these children.
While foster parents are not “parties” to the case in the same way biological parent are, case law has been revised to ensure foster parents have rights in court. Foster parents may become de facto parents, which gives them the ability to access some court records, to appear in court, and participate in hearings, and to have their concerns heard by the court. There are certain documents that foster parents may file to ensure their concerns are addressed in court. After all, when a parent is unsuccessful in getting help, foster parents are the ones to assume the daily parenting role, assist the children in reaching their developmental milestones, and ensuring they are happy, healthy, loved, and well-cared for during a very traumatic time in their lives. It is important that you have an attorney who specializes in Dependency Law and can ensure your rights as a foster parent are protected.
When the parents do not correct the problems that caused their children to be removed from their care, the court looks to developing a permanent plan for the children that is something other than reunifying with their parents. Often, this plan is Adoption or Guardianship. Please see our Adoption and Guardianship pages for further information on these very specialized areas.
Every dependency case is unique, and your specific legal questions can only be properly answered during a thorough consultation with an experienced attorney. Call 805-242-6270 to speak with The Law Office of Michelle Evans, APC or set up an appointment with our office.
Contact a Certified Dependency Court Attorney Today –
At the Law Office of Michelle Evans, APC, we have the experience to handle even the most complicated Juvenile Dependency case. It is important that you hire an attorney who is certified in Dependency law and knows the workings of the Juvenile Dependency Court. Call for a consultation at 805-242-6270 or send us an email.