We represent parents and children in actions where either Department of Child, Youth, and Families (DCYF) or a private party has filed a Petition stating that a child is not safe in their home because both parents have neglected or abused the child. A dependency petition can only move forward if both parents are deemed unfit to care for the child.
The Department of Child Protective Services has the authority to remove children from harmful situations. Additionally, when families are in crisis, such as those involved with at-risk youth and children in need of services (CHINS) petitions, the courts can intervene on behalf of the child’s best interests.
Most juvenile dependency cases in Kitsap are the result of a teacher, neighbor, or loved one reporting allegations of child abuse to Department of Child Safety. Parents may hire an attorney or have a lawyer appointed, depending on their situation. A Guardian ad Litem will also be appointed to represent the child’s best interests. An attorney can also be appointed in certain cases to represent the child’s direct wishes.
We understand the complex laws, regulations, and guidelines governing local dependency petitions. We also understand that without proper representation, your ability to get your children back in your care can be delayed or jeopardized, and eventually your parental rights could be terminated. We have handled cases resulting from serious issues, such as:
We provide diligent representation for parents seeking help in their dependency cases. Our team understands the severe hardships and social stigma attached to allegations of abuse. We also understand that false allegations occur, which can damage your reputation. We work hard on your behalf to give you clarity in the process and ensure you know the path to follow to get your children back home as expeditiously as possible.
Washington law places strict limitations on grandparent and family member interventions. On the other hand, many children live with their grandparents or other family members and have very personal relationships with them. Custodial grandparents or family members are not parties to the dependency action if they have not previously been granted custody. Neither are any family members who want to be considered as a placement for their dependent relative. Please contact my office to discuss juvenile dependencies in Kitsap. I provide vigilant advocacy.
Jeniece LaCross, Attorney At Law