Juvenile dependency cases start with the involvement of the Child Protective Services (CPS) due to charges of child abuse or neglect. If CPS takes your child out of your home, they will file a petition in Juvenile Court stating the allegations.
During the Detention Hearing, the judge will decide whether your child should be returned to your home. If not, you normally will be able to visit your child and the court will tell you where and how they can get help so the child can return.
At the Jurisdictional Hearing, the judge decides if the allegations in the petition are true. The parents or guardians may admit the petition is true, they could decide not to disagree with the petition or they can dispute the petition.
Both sides give the Court evidence at a hearing and the judge decides if the allegations in the petition are true or not.
If the judge decides the petition is true, the Court will probably make your child a dependent of the court. You control over your child will be limited and the child may be removed from your custody. A case plan will be worked out.
It will list services to try to reunify the family, as well as services to achieve legal permanence if reunification fails.
For parents, following the plan and proposed timeline are key to achieving reunification.