dependency court


Why These Parents Returned to a System That Took Their Kids Away

A group of newly hired parent advocates in Los Angeles with a past in the child welfare system are providing advice and assistance to others with children placed into foster care.

The child welfare field is still pondering the impacts.


Dependency Court Backlog Finds Many Los Angeles Children Still in Limbo

Illustration by Christine Ongjoco
Since the coronavirus began to fray Los Angeles County’s safety net in March, the number of children involved with its child welfare system has swelled by 4,000 children, reaching the highest total in 14 years.

Vivek Sankaran.


In Child Welfare Cases, Just Any Old Lawyer Won’t Do

During a virtual town hall last week, parents asked gut-wrenching questions to child welfare leadership. “When can I see my kids again?” “I was having unsupervised visits with them. Why can’t they come live with me?”

American Bar Association Confronts Anti-Black Discrimination in Child Welfare


A Crisis Reveals the Need to Modernize Juvenile Courts

This week, I received word that many courts – including the juvenile court in which I practice – were closing. That is, for the indefinite future, my court would not be holding any hearings, other than emergency hearings, to address whether a child needs to be removed for their immediate safety.


Beyond Counsel: What Lawyers Can Mean to Parents

I opened my inbox to find an email titled, “I can’t take this life anymore.” My heart sank. These were the words of a former client, a young adult who had aged out of foster care after living in more than 10 placements.


Timely Permanency and the Appellate Process

The child welfare system has a problem that is rarely mentioned in the literature. Children wait too long for permanency, and the problem is exasperated by the age of the children.


    Injustice Without Objection

    For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading transcripts from child protective hearings. Hundreds of pages of transcripts. I’ve seen examples of clear legal errors. I’ve read many lines of parents’ lawyers grumbling and complaining.


    This 23-Year-Old’s Newborn Was Taken by the Government. Here’s How She Got Her Back.

    At around nine o’clock on a Tuesday morning, two days after giving birth to her second child, Vanessa left a hospital in Queens, New York, and boarded the subway. She was headed to the borough’s courthouse on a mission: to regain custody of her newborn daughter.


    When a Child’s Issues Are Bigger Than Just One Agency

    I spent more than seven years as a trial court judge in San Francisco addressing the needs of children and families. I was tasked with formulating a plan to address the harm before me.