What is Dependency?
Dependency describes a legal case in which Child Protective Services has filed a petition in court alleging abuse, neglect, or abandonment of a child by the child’s parents. Sometimes Child Protective Services asks the court for permission to remove the child from the parents’ custody and place that child in foster care. Sometimes they are only asking that the court order the parents to participate in supportive services to help protect the child while the child remains in the parents’ home.
How can LSC help you?
LSC’s Dependency Project represents youth in San Francisco through court appointments when a petition has been filed alleging parental abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
LSC may be able to assist you with asking the Child Protective Services agency to file a dependency action if you live in San Francisco, have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by your parents, and want to consider entering foster care. Call our Warmline at (415) 780-6366 for more information.
Can anyone other than Child Protective Services file a dependency petition?
Only Child Protective Services can file a dependency petition. Anyone can ask Child Protective Services to file a petition, and, if they refuse, can ask the court to review the decision and decide if Child Protective Services should be ordered to file the petition.
What happens next after Child Protective Services files a dependency petition?
When a petition is filed for a child, the child will be assigned an attorney whose responsibility it is to meet with the child and discuss the case. This attorney is just for that child—the parents will get their own attorneys. The child’s attorney will explain the legal proceedings and ask what the child wants to have happen, such as where the child wants to live, what the child feels they need to stay safe, and what services might help the family. If the child wants, they can always attend the court hearings so they know what is happening in the case.
What if I am already in foster care and have questions?
If you are already in foster care, you should already have an attorney. If you are not sure who your attorney is, call your local Juvenile Court or our Warmline (415-780-6366) to get that information.
What if I am already in foster care and a Non-Minor Dependent (over the age of 18)?
If you are already in foster care and over the age of 18, you should already have an attorney. If you are not sure who your attorney is, call your local Juvenile Court or our Warmline (415-780-6366) to get information.
What if I have questions about AB12 or Higher Education?
You should always reach out to your county social worker or attorney first with questions about your status as a foster youth. Click here for general resources regarding youth in Extended Foster Care/AB12.
What if I exited foster care after the age of 18 but I want to come back in?
If you left foster care after your 18th birthday and you are still under 21, you can re-enter foster care. If you have the contact information for your attorney or county social worker, contact them first to find out how to re-enter foster care. If you do not know who your previous attorney or social worker is, call LSC to get information about re-entry.