Stephen Millan: What Should You Know About A Dependency Case?

Dependency cases, a crucial aspect of the child welfare system, often arise under circumstances that call for the state to step in and assume responsibility for a child’s welfare. These cases can stem from various situations like neglect, abuse, or the inability of parents or guardians to provide adequate care.

Understanding the intricacies of dependency cases is paramount for those engaged in or impacted by them. Stephen Millan will discuss what these cases entail, their procedural aspects, and their impact on all parties involved.


Understanding Dependency Cases

At their core, Stephen Millan states that dependency cases revolve around the wellbeing of children and their need for a safe, stable, and supportive environment.

When allegations of neglect, abuse, or abandonment surface, the child welfare system intervenes, conducting a thorough investigation to assess the child’s situation.  The goal here is ensuring the safety and security of the child, often leading to temporary or permanent removal from the home.

The Legal Framework

These cases fall under the purview of family court, which handles matters affecting the family and especially the welfare of minor children. The legal process begins with the filing of a petition by child welfare agencies, asserting that the child is in need of the state’s protection.

What follows is a series of hearings, aimed at evaluating the allegations and determining the best course of action for the child’s future.

The Initial Assessment

Upon receiving a report of potential neglect or abuse, child welfare agencies spring into action, conducting an initial assessment to verify the claims. This phase is critical as it sets the stage for the entire case, determining whether further intervention is warranted.

Court Proceedings


If intervention is deemed necessary, the case moves to family court, where multiple hearings take place. These include the detention hearing, where the court decides if the child should be temporarily removed from the home for their safety, and the disposition hearing, which maps out a long-term plan for the child’s wellbeing.


The Role of Legal Representation

Given the stakes involved, both the child and the parents or guardians have the right to legal representation. Lawyers specializing in family law play a crucial role, advocating for their clients’ interests and navigating the complexities of the legal process. Their expertise is invaluable in ensuring that the proceedings are fair and that the outcomes serve the child’s best interests.

Impact on Families

Dependency cases are emotionally taxing for all parties involved. For the child, being removed from their home, even temporarily, can be extremely distressing.

Parents or guardians face the anguish of separation and the challenge of meeting the court’s requirements to reunite with their child. It is a situation fraught with emotional upheaval, highlighting the need for supportive services and resources to help families.

The Path to Resolution

Stephen Millan states that the goal of dependency cases is to secure a stable, loving, and safe environment for the child, whether that means reuniting with their family or finding a new home through foster care or adoption.

The path to resolution involves rigorous assessment, monitoring, and sometimes the fulfillment of conditions set by the court for the parents or guardians. Success in these cases is measured by the child’s ability to thrive in a setting free from harm and filled with opportunity.