- General Information
- Delinquency Proceedings
- Child Protective Proceedings
- Adoption & Juvenile Guardianship Proceedings
DHS or the police may request removal of a child from a home without a court hearing. If a judicial officer determines that the child is at imminent risk of harm, the court may order DHS or the police to remove the child from the home. Once a child is removed, a preliminary hearing must be held within 24 hours, excluding weekends. ADD CITES.
If a petition to initiate child protective proceedings is accompanied by a request to obtain physical custody of the child, or the child has already been taken into protective custody, a Preliminary Hearing will be held within 24 hours of the child being removed from the home. At the hearing, the child will be represented by a lawyer-guardian ad litem appointed by the court, who will advocate on behalf of the child. It is important to note that the lawyer-guardian ad litem is not advocating on behalf of the parents, and may not necessarily seek the same outcome that the parents desire; therefore, the parents have the right to be represented by an attorney of their own.
At the preliminary hearing the court will determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe that the allegations in the petition are true. If probable cause exists, the court will authorize the petition and schedule a pre-trial. If the petition in authorized, the court will also decide whether the child should remain in custody or be released to the parents until the trial.