The Child and Family Protection team works with the Social Services Agency’s Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) in its efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect, address issues of disproportionality within the child welfare system, and support families at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile dependency system. Attorneys on this team advise DFCS social workers as they investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, carefully reviewing each case before it is filed to ensure legal sufficiency and the consistent application of appropriate legal standards. Once cases are filed, Child and Family Protection Team attorneys litigate them in the juvenile dependency court. They regularly appear in court to handle statutorily required hearings, mediations, settlement conferences, and trials. The Child and Family Protection Team also handles appeals of juvenile dependency issues to the Sixth District Court of Appeal.
In recognition of its vital and groundbreaking work to reduce inequity and trauma in the child welfare system and to enhance the cultural competency of the County’s child protective services, the Child and Family Protection team was awarded the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award in 2022 (more information about the award is available here).