Reunification in Dependency Proceedings

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If the court does not order reunification services or orders them denied, the court has in essence ruled that the child’s permanent plan does not include returning the kids to the parents.  The dispositional hearing thus becomes a referral hearing (i.e. a hearing in which the court sets an implementation hearing under Welf I&C section 366.26.  The court must inform the parents of their rights to pursue a writ and it must set an implementation hearing.

If the information in the social study supports it, the court may find by clear and convincing evidence that the child is not adoptable and no one is available for legal guardianship.  The court may then find long term foster care the best plan for the child.

Although visitation order are not mandatory, unless the court makes a specific finding that visitation would be detrimental to the child, visitation remains an issue that your lawyer should raise to the court.

Contact an Orange County Dependency Attorney today for help.

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