Child Protective Services provides 24 hour emergency response to referrals of child abuse or neglect. Allegations are investigated by a social worker who assesses risk to the child. If the child is determined to be unsafe in the home, s(he) may be taken into protective custody by law enforcement and removed from the home.
The Court Process
When a child is taken into protective custody, the child may be placed in a licensed foster home or with an approved relative or non-related extended family member. The law requires that a petition be filed in Juvenile Court within two (2) work days and heard at a Detention Hearing within three (3) work days. Attorneys are appointed to represent the parents and the child. It may take several hearings to agree on the best plan for ensuring the child's safety.
Family Maintenance services are provided to families in which children can reside safely in their own homes but who require ongoing supervision. These services can be provided on a voluntary basis or can be ordered by the Court.
Family Reunification services are provided to families in which children are temporarily placed in out-of-home care with the goal that they return to their own home when it is safe to do so.
Parents have six to twelve months to show the Court that they can provide a safe environment for their child. The child is either returned home during that period, or further hearings are set to establish a permanent plan for the child. The permanent plan, in order of preference, is adoption, guardianship, or long term foster care.
A Few Facts About Child Abuse
- Most child abuse and neglect cases are closed after initial intake services are provided.
- Out-of-home care includes children placed with relatives, non-related extended family members and children in foster homes, group homes, institutions and hospitals. About three-fourths of children entering out-of-home care in California were removed from their homes due to general neglect, largely related to parental substance abuse.
- Approximate number of children in out-of-home care:
- United States: 408,425
- California: 53,019
- Siskiyou County: 100