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Eugene Juvenile Dependency Lawyers

Experienced Legal Representation You Can Rely On

Receiving a guilty judgment in a dependency case could result in a temporary or permanent loss of parental rights. If a dependency court finds that a child is unsafe due to their parent’s behavior, it can order the child(ren) to be removed from or remain away from their home, either in substitute care or with a family member.

At Landerholm Family Law, we understand how difficult dependency cases can be for parents. Our empathetic, experienced Eugene juvenile dependency lawyers will advocate for your rights in court and fight for the best outcome in your case.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (888) 981-9511.

What Starts a Dependency Case in Oregon?

When an individual reports suspected child abuse or neglect to the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), the DHS begins the proceedings for a dependency case. The DHS typically receives reports either from mandated reporters – individuals obligated by law to report suspicions of child abuse – or via anonymous reports.

After receiving a report, the DHS conducts an investigation into the child's home life. The DHS can offer voluntary services to parents, such offering to help the parents find certain services or informally monitor the family. If the DHS does determine that a child is indeed suffering from abuse or neglect and may be in danger while at home, the DHS will initiate a dependency case.

If you find yourself embroiled in a dependency case, you can expect to go through the following steps:

  1. Shelter hearing. If a child is placed in substitute care, the Court holds a shelter hearing within one business day. The Court decides if there was sufficient evidence to remove the child from their home and, if so, how the case should proceed. Parents may or may not be able to present evidence at a shelter hearing depending on the Court they attend.
  2. Status hearing. At the status hearing, the Court can clear up any issues with legal paperwork and establish a clear set of guidelines for the parents to follow if they want to maintain custody. Parents may choose to proceed to trial in their dependency case at this stage.
  3. Jurisdiction and disposition hearing. At this hearing, the Court decides whether the parents have sufficiently rectified their behavior. This includes assessing what services DHS has provided the parents with. At this stage, the Court can provide the parents with a roadmap to reunification if they decide to move forward with rehoming the child and set dates for future hearings.
  4. Citizen Review Board (CRB) assessments. At 180 and 360 days into the child's new housing arrangement, the CRB will assess the case and determine whether the child should be returned to their parents for custody. The CRB examines whether the DHS has complied with court orders, what steps the parents have taken to improve their behavior and reunite with their child, and how the child’s current placement is impacting them.
  5. Permanency hearing. Within 12 months of the date jurisdiction is taken or 14 months from the child’s removal, the Court can hold a permanency hearing. At this stage, the Court analyzes what efforts DHS has made to reunite the parents with their child, the parents’ progress, and whether adoption, guardianship, or another permanent living arrangement is necessary for the child.
  6. Other plans. If the Court and DHS decide to move forward with permanently rehoming the child, the DHS must provide details for how to move past reunification and file legal proceedings to move forward with the child’s new living arrangement. This initiates separate hearings and proceedings, which can include terminating parental rights of some parties if necessary.

For any parent, handling a dependency case can be nerve-wracking. Our Eugene juvenile dependency attorneys will work with you to handle your dependency case, supporting you and advocating for your rights.

To schedule a consultation, contact our office online or via phone at (888) 981-9511.

About Our Team Portland, Oregon City & Salem Family Law Firm

At our family law firm, we understand the importance of taking an individualized approach to working with clients. Our goal is to give our clients stability and confidence during a difficult time of their lives. From start to finish, we can provide the personalized counsel you deserve.

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