General Information - Juvenile Dependency
What you can learn here:
- Who participates in Juvenile Dependency Court
- Services available to families and children
- How to get access to juvenile court records
- What legal forms must be used in Juvenile Dependency Court
- Where to file legal papers for Juvenile Dependency Court
What You Can Do Here:
What You Cannot Do Here:
- Get legal advice on what to do in dependency court
- Fill out forms and file them with the court electronically
What is the Juvenile Dependency Court?
The Alameda County Juvenile Dependency Court is the division of the Superior Court which has the responsibility for hearing cases involving children who have been abused and/or neglected. The legal actions are described in Welfare and Institutions Code sections 300 et seq.
What is the Purpose of the Juvenile Dependency Court?
As provided in the California Welfare and Institutions Code section 202, the purpose of the Juvenile Dependency Court is to provide for the protection and safety of the public and each minor under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The Court shall act to preserve and strengthen the minor’s family ties whenever possible, removing the minor from the custody of his or her parents only when necessary for his or her welfare or for the safety and protection of the public. When removal of a minor is determined by the juvenile court to be necessary, reunification of the minor with his or her family shall be a primary objective. When the minor is removed from his or her own family, it is the purpose of this chapter to secure for the minor custody, care and discipline as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given by his or her parents. This chapter shall be liberally construed to carry out these purposes.
Mission of the Alameda County Juvenile Dependency Court
The Mission of the Juvenile Dependency Court of Alameda County is to protect children, preserve families, and provide permanency for children while treating all with dignity, respecting diversity, and valuing each child as our own.
Goals of the Alameda County Juvenile Dependency Court
Acknowledging that Juvenile Court is a court of law and that all parties have certain due process rights based upon the Federal and State Constitutions and statutes, the Juvenile Dependency Court of Alameda County sets the following goals and takes steps to ensure that:
- Child safety shall be the primary consideration in all decisions within the juvenile dependency system.
- Child welfare professionals will design and coordinate all services for the family and ensure that they are practical.
- Families will encounter the same professionals throughout the time their case is before the Court.
- Children will experience a single stable placement within their community until a permanent home can be found.
- All children will have an identified permanent home within one year of removal from the home of their parents.
- All professionals will provide up-front services and interventions, using the court process as a last resort for the resolution of cases.
- All professionals will assist families who come in contact with the child welfare system to be able to solve their own problems.
- All professionals will resolve issues utilizing alternative dispute resolution techniques while keeping foremost the best interests of the child.
- All professionals will encourage and support the use of trained volunteers within the juvenile dependency system.
- All professionals will cooperate in immediately gathering information regarding family members, including medical, mental health and educational histories and other facts necessary to assist the child and family members.
- The Court will provide a fair, speedy, economical, and accessible forum for the resolution of matters involving child welfare.
- All children under court jurisdiction have their medical, mental health and educational needs addressed by their caretakers and all professionals working with the child welfare system.