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Juvenile Dependency

Juvenile Dependency

The California Welfare and Institutions Code, starting at section 300, sets forth the legal requirements, process and objectives for Dependency Court. Dependency matters are filed with the court when there are reports that children have been abandoned, abused or neglected by their parent(s) or legal guardian. These cases are also filed with the Court when parents or legal guardians are unable or unwilling to care for their children. View more information about parents' rights in Dependency Court.

While the desired outcome of these cases is to reunite children with their families or caregivers, if the court determines that this is not possible, the children may be temporarily placed in foster care or a guardian may be appointed by the court. Ultimately, if the court determines that the children cannot be reunited with their families, the parents' or legal guardian's rights to the children may be terminated and the children may become eligible for permanent adoption.

Other agencies typically involved in dependency proceedings include the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, Children and Family Services; Marin County Counsel; and private law firms. The court appoints legal counsel for most parties in Dependency Court.

The objectives of Dependency Court are to:

  1. Protect the health and safety of minor children;
  2. Preserve families, whenever possible;
  3. Provide placement of children with a relative, foster family, group home or an adoptive parent if it is determined to be in their best interest.

See more information about how Juvenile Dependency Court works.

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