Dependency and Neglect, A Brief Explanation
Child Dependency Attorney: A Dependency and Neglect petition can lead to your children being removed from your home and the termination of your parental rights. This can be the worst situation for your family. You need to get an attorney as soon as possible.
Attorney Iyer handles Dependency and Neglect cases and can give you expert advice and legal representation as you go through this devastating experience.
Dependency and Neglect proceedings can be very complicated. That’s why you need an experienced attorney to protect the needs of your children, as well as your parental rights. A brief explanation of Dependency and Neglect is useful, so you can understand what you are up against.
In Colorado, the child welfare laws require that police and other law enforcement officials as well as many different types of professionals, like teachers and child care workers, must report suspicions (however slight) of child abuse or child neglect.
The people in this position are called “mandatory reporters.” That means that if they fail to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect, they can be criminally prosecuted, fined, or jailed. They may also lose their jobs and professional licenses. So with the fear of these serious consequences and frequently lacking information, mandatory reporters can often be overzealous in their reporting.
After a report is filed with your county department of human services, they will investigate the allegations of child abuse or child neglect. After the investigation is complete, if they believe the allegations are true, the county department of human services will file a petition for Dependency and Neglect in juvenile district court, usually where your children live, or where the allegations of child abuse or neglect occurred.
A Dependency and Neglect Petition
A Dependency and Neglect petition, often referred to as a “D&N” case, usually begins with your children being taken into custody by human services and placed into foster care. Sometimes your child may be placed with relatives.
The Department of Human Services and the guardian ad litem (G.A.L.) who is appointed by the court to look out for the best interests of the children, jointly make the decision whether or not to place the children out of the home.
But it’s not over. The judge makes the final decision in approving or denying their placement request. Removing children from your family can be very damaging to the mental or emotional health of your children and you.
Attorney Iyer defends parents facing Dependency and Neglect petitions, and works for the immediate return home of the children.
He works on behalf of families in Denver, Colorado, and all nearby counties including, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson, Larimer, Lincoln, Logan, Jackson, Morgan, Summit, Washington, and Weld.
If your children are removed from your home by human services, a petition of Dependency and Neglect is filed and you are required to appear in court. This is when you need to have Attorney Iyer working on your behalf, because at this time the court will hear your side of the case.
A preliminary protective hearing (temporary custody or initial hearing), to determine if human services was legally justified in removing the children from your custody or in intervening in your child-parent relationship, is usually held within 24-72 hours. But the failure to hold a timely custody hearing does not deprive the court of jurisdiction.
It is important to remember that a Dependency and Neglect (D&N) case is treated like a civil matter, and not a criminal case. However, it is different from most civil matters because the custody of your children is at stake. If you win, your children are returned home to you, but if you lose, your children are placed outside your home and your parental rights are in jeopardy of being terminated. The termination of your parental rights means that you would no longer legally be their parent.
Another reason you need Attorney Iyer is because any statements made by you during the Dependency and Neglect case are often used for possible criminal prosecution.
Don’t make a bad situation worse. Keep your children and family protected, by getting Attorney Iyer on your case, the sooner the better. You can reach Attorney Iyer at 720.262.8295 for a free consultation.
What is a Guardian Ad Litem? A Brief Explanation
If a petition for Dependency and Neglect is filed, an attorney called a Guardian Ad Litem or G.A.L., will be appointed to look out for the “best interests” of your children. This is a guardian created by a court order only for the duration of the legal action. What is a Guardian Ad Litem? A brief explanation will help you understand their role.
Guardians Ad Litems have extensive power and responsibility. For example, a petition for Dependency or Neglect cannot be dismissed without the consent of the Guardian Ad Litem. Their duties are greatest in cases involving children, where they investigate, attend to the child’s emotional and legal needs, monitor the child’s family, and seek to shield the child from the often bruising experience of a lawsuit.
Their function as officers of the court is also extensive: in addition to compiling relevant facts, interviewing witnesses, giving testimony, and making recommendations to the court on issues of custody and visitation, they ensure that all parties comply with court orders.
In the mid-1990s, the role of Guardian Ad Litem provoked new concerns. Whereas many attorneys perceived a need for Guardians Ad Litem to be appointed in all Child Custody proceedings, others expressed caution about the risk of lawsuits. Particularly for attorneys serving as Guardians Ad Litem in divorce cases, this risk was high: parents upset with the result of a custody ruling might sue the guardian, just as a number of parties had in the 1980s brought action against government agencies involved in child welfare cases. Lawyers worried that the Guardian Ad Litem system had become potentially dangerous for those whose rights it had been designed to protect, some of society’s weakest members.
Key Players in a Dependency or Neglect Case
- The Juvenile District Court Judge.
- The Department of Human Services (Social Services) represented by the County Attorney (specialized in Dependency or Neglect Law) called the Petitioner
- The Child or Children represented by one or more Guardians Ad Litem (specialized in Dependency or Neglect Law)
- The Mother of each child is called Respondent Mother.
- The Father of each child is called Respondent Father.
- Kinship provider (where child or children are placed) called Special Respondents
Under Colorado Dependency or Neglect Law each Respondent or Special Respondent is entitled to legal representation. If one or more Respondents or Special Respondents are indigent and meet the Colorado Supreme Court Financial Guidelines for determining indigency then the Court will appoint a Court Appointed Dependency or Neglect attorney approved by the Court. You can select your own private dependency or neglect lawyer if you are willing to pay that dependency or neglect attorney’s fees. If you do get a court appointed dependency or neglect attorney you must accept the one that the court appoints. If you do not like the court appointed dependency or neglect attorney then you should hire your own private dependency or neglect attorney.
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