What you need to know about Juvenile Law
Juvenile Law Guide
Juvenile law is a complex area fraught with the emotions that come from a child in trouble. Dependency cases often arise when a state child protective service agency has concerns regarding the care a minor child is receiving from parents or other caregivers and, as a result, questions whether the Juvenile Court should have legal jurisdiction over that child.
When the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) or Washington Child Protective Services (CPS) intercedes on behalf of a child, legal issues can arise for all family members. If concerns are raised that a child has been neglected or abused, or a child’s parents are unable to provide proper care because of alcohol, drug, or severe mental health issues, the state may get involved. In such situations it is essential for a parent to seek legal representation immediately. If the Juvenile Court system is concerned that abuse or neglect has occurred, there is a risk that the child may be removed from the home and placed under protective custody or even foster care.
The Complexity of Juvenile Dependency
Juvenile dependency cases can be quite complex; and are often intertwined with other family law proceedings such as child custody disputes or divorce. Dependency cases often start with state officials investigating the child’s situation and assessing whether the child is at risk. The child’s living situation likely will be thoroughly investigated, and the parents or caretakers interviewed to determine the validity of any allegations. Depending on the circumstances, the child’s mental and physical health may be evaluated, the child may be placed in protective custody, and the caretaker or parents may face criminal investigation, arrest, or even criminal charges.
The highly experienced attorneys at McKean Smith represent minors, parents, or guardians in juvenile court dependency proceedings. We can help navigate the complex juvenile justice system.
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