Inform Agency and Court
Foster parents are one of the most important sources of information about the children in their care. Courts, lawyers, and social workers should have the benefit of caregivers' perceptions about important developments affecting foster children. Federal and State law require that foster parents and other caregivers receive expanded opportunities for notice, the right to participate in dependency court review and permanency hearings, and the right to communicate concerns to the courts. Caregivers should have knowledge of all of the following:
- Their right to receive notice of all review and permanency hearings concerning the child during the placement.
- Their right to attend those hearings or submit information they deem relevant to the court in writing.
- The Request to Change Court Order (Judicial Council Form JV-180), which can be used to request a change in a court order.
- The Relative Information Form (Judicial Council Form JV-285), which allows the relative of a child who has been removed from the home to provide information directly to the court.
- The Confidential Form (Judicial Council Form JV-287), which allows you to keep your contact information confidential.
- The Caregiver Information Form (Judicial Council Form JV-290), which allows the caregiver to provide information directly to the court.
- The “De Facto Parent Request” ( Judicial Council Form JV-295 ) and “De Facto Parent Statement Form” ( Judicial Council Form JV 296 ), to request that the court recognize the child’s present or previous caregiver as de facto parents and grant standing to participate as parties in disposition hearings and any hearing thereafter in which the status of the dependent child is at issue.
- Information about and referrals to any existing services, including transportation, translation, training, forms, and other available services.
- The caregiver's obligation to cooperate with any reunification, concurrent, or permanent planning for the child.
- Any known siblings or half-siblings of the child, whether the child has, expects, or desires to have contact or visitation with any or all siblings, and how and when caregivers facilitate the contact or visitation.
- That they have the right to inform the court, at the earliest possible date of their interest in providing legal permanency for the child.
If you do not have an attorney, the court clerk will send notice and copies of your request to all persons required to receive notice. Call your local Court Clerk’s Office for more information about the policies in your county. Go to Find My Court to locate the contact information for your county Clerk’s Office
California Courts Online Self-Help Center will help you find assistance and information and represent yourself in some legal matters.
Caregivers and the Courts – A Primer on Juvenile Dependency Proceedings for California Foster Parents and Relative Caregivers – PUB 433
This brief manual provides general information about the court process as well as, in the last section, some specific suggestions on how you can participate in the process.