Children and Youth Defense / Child Dependency Hearings
Gearty Law handles cases involving Children and Youth Services and child dependency hearings. It is critical to have quality representation if there is Children and Youth Services involvement with your family. The outcome of such dependency hearings can have devastating consequences on your family.
You have the right to legal counsel at any dependency hearing and it is critical that you assert that right. Children and Youth Services will have legal representation so this is not something that anyone should handle without an attorney, particularly when you consider the possible ramifications.
Children and Youth may be granted physical custody, legal custody, or both of your minor child or children if they are found to be dependent by the court.
If Children and Youth Services is granted physical custody of your child, then Children and Youth Services will have the right to have the child placed into shelter care.
If Children and Youth Services is granted legal custody of your child, then they will have the right to make decisions affecting your child’s life.
If Children and Youth Services believes that your child is in imminent danger, then they may remove the child immediately and place the child temporarily into shelter care.
Within 72 hours of placement into shelter care, a shelter care hearing will commence. It is at this hearing where the agency will explain to the judge why the child needs placed and the judge will make a final determination. After placement, a hearing will be held within thirty days where the court will make a determination of whether the child is dependent or not and whether continued placement is needed. After that initial determination, review hearings are generally held every six months.