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Hearings

8/7/2019

Hearings: The Changing Footprint of Marijuana in Dependency Court

It’s 3:30 on a Friday afternoon at the Alfred J. McCourtney Juvenile Justice Center in Lancaster, California, when the last case of the day begins. This is the dependency courtroom that serves the Antelope Valley, a remote high-desert community that has been marked by a string of child fatalities in recent years, including 4-year Noah Cuatro last month.

7/9/2019

Hearings: In Child Welfare Court, Customer Service is Key

As a social worker with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), I face a lot of situations that are disheartening and tough to deal with. But few moments in my career have left me more disillusioned than a recent experience at the Los Angeles County courthouse in Lancaster.

6/25/2019

Hearings: A Faithful Supporter in Alameda County Court

As a community pastor ministering to foster and probation youth in Northern California, I know how important it is for teachers, family friends, clergy, mentors and others to support these youth at dependency and delinquency juvenile court hearings.

6/19/2019

Hearings: A Rural Judge Talks About Small Town Child Welfare Courts

In the least populated state with many expansive miles between communities, Wyoming faces some unique challenges when it comes to meeting the needs of its kids in foster care. In a state that spans almost 100,000 square miles, there were just 1,247 youth in foster care in the entire state in 2018.

6/12/2019

Hearings: In One Georgia County, the Indifference to Foster Parents Stings

When children are unable to remain safely at home with their parents or guardians, a state’s child welfare agency must step in and place the children in a home where they can be protected from abuse and/or neglect.

6/5/2019

Hearings: With Mom Absent, an Education Plan Stalls

Alex* was 5 years old when he was removed from his home and entered Arizona’s foster care system. Alex was often left alone in his home, went days without a solid meal, and hadn’t yet started school.

5/29/2019

Hearings: More Money for Legal Counsel Won’t Fix Broken Court Processes

A recent policy change at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now allows for child welfare systems to draw federal funds to help pay for the legal counsel of all children and birth parents involved in the child welfare systems.

5/22/2019

Hearings: Fathering from Jail, Rehab and Home

The first person to speak to me is a young Latino man. He asks if his name was just called over the crackling loudspeaker.

I am standing in front of J-4, one of two Riverside, Calif.,

5/16/2019

Hearings: How to Responsibly Open the Child Welfare Courtroom

Part one of this series discussed the historical nature of confidentiality, followed by a discussion of the societal forces that have changed including technologic advances, public and private communication such as social networking, increasing pressure on openness and transparency in government, and the growing need for support for resources including funding, staffing and leadership.