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Gevurtz Menashe

PDX 503.227.1515
WA 360.823.0410

Juvenile Dependency & DHS Cases

Family 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.  

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Juvenile Law attorneys in Oregon

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

Common Juvenile Court involvement is based on the following allegations:
 
  • Physical harm being inflicted on a child by a parent or guardian.
  • Child incurred injury or illness due to a parent’s or caretaker’s negligence.
  • Parent or guardian is unable to provide a child with adequate 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 appropriate care for a child.
 Gevurtz Menashe 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 (sometimes 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 the criminal court or probate court, we can make appropriate referrals to attorneys who specialize in those arenas.   

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 or not risks to the child’s wellbeing are present. The child’s living situation likely will be thoroughly investigated and the parents or caretakers interviewed to try to assess the validity 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 criminal investigation, arrest, or even criminal charges. Following the investigation there may be many different outcomes: the case may be dismissed and the child returned to the parents/caretaker; specific instructions or requirements may be placed upon the caretaker or parents in order to allow the return of the child; or a juvenile court dependency petition may be filed. If a petition is filed, the child may also be removed from their home. If the child is removed from their home, a shelter care hearing likely will be held in Juvenile Court within 24 hours of the child’s removal (weekends not included). Other court appearances addressing whether the Juvenile Court should have legal jurisdiction over the child will follow, often in a very short time frame.

Contact Us Today

Juvenile dependency cases require the best professional representation possible.  If you or your family is faced with a juvenile dependency proceeding, call 503-227-1515 today to schedule a consultation with a Gevurtz Menashe attorney experienced in juvenile dependency cases.

Call our Portland, OR offices at: 503-227-1515
and our Vancouver, WA office at 360-823-0410
or contact us to request a consultation.