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Santa Ana Juvenile Dependency Lawyer

If you live in the City of Santa Ana, it can be a frightening and emotional experience to have your children taken out of your home. If it happens, you will need the services of an experienced and reputable lawyer like Santa Ana juvenile dependency defense attorney Lauren K. Johnson to represent your rights. She has the expertise necessary to navigate you through the juvenile dependency process and get your child back.

It’s important that you be represented at every stage of a juvenile dependency case, because, if you don’t, you risk not only losing your child but also being charged with criminal abuse or neglect. That’s why you should call Orange County criminal defense attorney Lauren K. Johnson at (949) 622-5522.

A report is usually reported to social workers or to the police, who will then investigate your situation and come to a conclusion. This investigative period could consist of the social worker conversing with the child, the parents, people their family is familiar with, and their current living situation. Based on what the social workers sees, they will either not involve the court, offer some services that the family can take if they want to, file a petition with the court but still leave the child under the care of the parents, or they will take the child away from of the care of the parents and file a petition. A petition is first filed alleging facts about abuse or neglect that may lead to your child being removed from your home and placed into foster care. Then there will be a detention hearing where the court reviews the evidence. After that, the court will determine if you have violated any laws. This could determine if potential criminal charges will be filed against you.

At another hearing, the court will decide whether family reunification services will be given, or if the child remains in the custody of the county. After that, a reunification plan must be determined, which could include drug treatment, counseling, anger management or visitation arrangements. If you don’t fulfill this plan for reunification, you might not get your child back. Also, the reunification plan most often will need to be fulfilled within a certain period of time. If you do not get your child back, a separate permanent plan that involves your child not being under your care will be put in place. For the permanent plan, adoption is usually the first option. The parent will no longer have any rights or responsibilities pertaining to the child. The second choice is usually legal guardianship, where a legal guardian possesses all the rights that a parent would normally have. Your parental rights are not yet terminate, but instead, simply on hold. Finally, there is the possibility of having a long-term planned permanent living arrangement, meaning that the child will live with foster parents.

Once everything is completed, there will still be several review hearings to demonstrate to the court that you are fit to care for your child; otherwise the child could end up foster care, in a long-term guardianship, or be adopted. Orange County juvenile dependency defense lawyer Lauren K. Johnson can help you throughout the entire process, and will fight to reunite your family.

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