CA Juvenile Dependency Courts: Too Many Cases, Too Little Time …

When children are taken into foster care due to alleged abandonment, abuse or neglect, it sets in motion a series of events, including various hearings in juvenile dependency court.

Juvenile dependency court is unlike any other court.

Many of the families of removed children are indigent. Parents attorneys’ and children’s attorneys are typically court-appointed. They handle hundreds of cases per year.

They barely know their clients, let alone the parents and the family’s circumstances.

Yet these overburdened court-appointed attorneys are the just about the only thing standing between children – and removal from their parents and families.

The courts don’t allow much time for parents to defend return of children to their families. In California, sometimes just five minutes or less.

That’s all the time a judge has to get the facts and determine the best outcome. Informed only by attorneys and case workers who have inadequate time and too large caseloads to sort out the truth and come up with solutions.

And so children are removed from their homes … whether or not they should be …

Read horror story after horror story in this troubling Mercury News article: How rushed justice fails our kids – BROKEN FAMILIES, BROKEN COURTS: A MERCURY NEWS INVESTIGATION.