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Salem Juvenile Dependency Lawyers

Protecting You During Dependency Cases

Parents accused of failing to care for their child(ren) properly by the state may have their parental rights temporarily or permanently terminated during juvenile dependency cases. If a dependency court finds that a child is unsafe due to their parent’s actions, it can order the parent(s) to relinquish custody of their child and house them either in a substitute living facility or with a family member.

At Landerholm Family Law, we understand just how stressful dependency cases can be for parents. Our Salem juvenile dependency attorneys will tirelessly advocate for your rights in court.

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

What Is a Dependency Case?

Suspicions of child abuse and neglect are most frequently reported to the Oregon Department of Human Services (often called “DHS” or “child welfare”). Generally, child abuse or neglect reports come from:

  1. Mandated reporters. These are individuals who must by law report suspicions of child abuse or neglect to authorities. Mandated reporters include healthcare workers, social workers, and teachers.
  2. Anonymous reporters. Anonymous reporters are often individuals such as concerned neighbors, partners, or family members.

When an individual reports child abuse or neglect to the DHS, the DHS conducts an investigation. The DHS can provide parents with certain voluntary services, such as informal evaluations and resources to help them improve their parenting styles if necessary. If the DHS concludes that a child is indeed suffering from abuse or neglect, they will initiate dependency proceedings.

Dependency Case Timeline in OR

In Oregon, dependency cases typically follow this timeline:

  1. Day 1: Shelter hearing. At the shelter hearing, a dependency court determines whether a child can continue to remain in their primary residence, or if they need to be moved to the care of a relative or foster home. Shelter hearings occur within one business day of a child’s removal from their home and determine whether there was sufficient evidence to remove the child from their home and initiate further court proceedings. You may or may not have the opportunity to present evidence to the Court at your shelter hearing.
  2. Day 30: Pre-trial hearing. At the pre-trial hearing, parents have the chance to address allegations made against them, and the Court can address any legal issues with the case thus far (such as misfiled paperwork).
  3. Day 60: Jurisdiction and disposition hearing. At this stage, the Court can fully consider evidence presented during the case and whether the parents have made adequate efforts to change their behavior. If not, the Court can order the child to live with a relative or foster care family temporarily. At this hearing, the Court can also provide the parents with a roadmap for reunification if they want to regain custody of their child.
  4. Days 180 and 360: Citizen Review Board (CRB) assessments. At six months and one year into the child's new living arrangement, the CRB will assess the case and determine whether the child should be returned to their parent's care. This involves evaluating the child’s current placement, what services have been provided to the child and parent, whether the parents have complied with court orders, and how the parents are progressing with regards to their readiness to parent a child.
  5. Day 420: Permanency hearing. If by 420 days in the child is still not living with their parents, the dependency court can hold one final hearing. At this stage, the Court can determine whether the parents have complied with the DHS and taken the necessary steps to regain custody of their child. If the Court decides the parents are fit to regain custody, it can provide them with a reunification plan.
  6. Other plans. If the Court decides not to proceed with the reunification of a family, DHS must file a legal proceeding documenting the Court’s decisions. This initiates more hearings and proceedings, after which the Court can terminate the parents’ parental rights, making the child's relative or foster care living arrangement permanent.

At Landerholm Family Law, we help Oregonians navigate dependency cases. Our empathetic, experienced Salem juvenile dependency attorneys will help you fight for your parental rights in court.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us 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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