Dependency Law

 

Juvenile dependency cases often arise when DHS 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) 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.

In addition, a minor can become a “dependent” of the Juvenile Court system based on several factors. 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. Learn more about Juvenile Law here.

Common Allegations

Juvenile Court involvement is frequently based on these allegations:

  • Physical harm being inflicted on a child by a parent.
  • Child incurred injury or illness due to a parent’s negligence.
  • Parent is unable to provide a child with tolerable basic human necessities such as food, shelter, clothing or medical care.
  • Child has suffered emotional harm from verbal abuse by a parent.
  • Child was sexually abused by a parent or that the parent failed to protect a child from sexual abuse.
  • Parent or guardian is incapacitated, incarcerated, institutionalized, has died, or is otherwise unavailable to provide suitable care for a child.

Chafetz Brumley has highly experienced attorneys who represent minors, parents, or guardians in juvenile court dependency proceedings.  We can help navigate the complex juvenile court dependency system and process (commonly referred as juvenile justice system or juvenile court process).  If the case also involves family law, we can evaluate and make recommendations about how to proceed. If other court systems are involved, such as criminal court, we can make appropriate recommendations as well.

How Does the Process Work?

Juvenile dependency cases can be quite complex. They also may be intertwined with other family law proceedings such as child custody disputes or divorce. Such cases often begin with Department of Human Services officials investigating the child’s situation and assessing whether risks to the child’s welfare are present. The child’s living situation likely will be carefully investigated and the parents or caretakers interviewed to try to assess the legitimacy of any allegations. Depending on the situation, 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 a criminal investigation, arrest, or even criminal charges.