CA R VENTURA SUPER CT Rule 12.02
 
Rules of the Superior Court of California, County of Ventura, Rule 12.02
Southern California Local Court Rules
Ventura County
Superior Court
Superior Court of California County of Ventura Local Rules of Court
Chapter 12. Juvenile Calendar Procedures

Rule 12.02. Juvenile Dependency

A. Time-Lines and Procedures Governing Settlements, Mediation, and Discovery Protocol for Contested Matters.

1. Settlements. Upon the calendaring of a contested hearing, the court may, in its discretion, set each matter for a Readiness Conference as near the trial date as will most efficiently utilize the resources of the court. In addition, if it is the opinion of the court that a resolution is possible, the court shall also set the matter for a pre-trial conference.

2. Mediation. At any time prior to dismissal if there are issues of custody and/or visitation and there is no issue of risk of harm to the minor(s), the court may require the parties to schedule and participate in a mediation with Family Court Services. Parents and minor(s) six (6) years or older must, absent a court order to the contrary, attend the mediation. Mediation shall be conducted in accordance with the laws, rules, standards, and procedures specified for Family Law custody and visitation issues, including, but not limited to, the provisions of Family Code section 3160 et seq. California Rules of Court, 5.210 et seq. and Ventura County Superior Court Local Rule 5.30 et seq.

3. Discovery Protocol. See California Rules of Court, rule 5.546.

B. Miscellaneous Rules Regarding Dependency Cases.

1. Court Files.

a. Each minor child who is subject to a dependency petition shall be assigned a separate file number and a separate court file shall be maintained for each child.

b. Each new court file created as a result of a petition filed under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, shall consist of two (2) separate physical folders, the main folder and the Confidential and the Indian Child Welfare Act ("ICWA") folder.

c. The confidential and ICWA folder shall be divided into two (2) separate sections, one section where confidential documents are to be filed, and one section whereICWA documents are to be filed.

d. The Confidential section shall contain documents that contain confidential information that should not be given to parents and/or children without a further court order, for example, proofs of service showing confidential foster care information, confidential caregiver information forms, and confidential de facto parent requests. The confidential section shall also contain any privileged information including psychological evaluation reports. The party filing a confidential document shall be responsible to clearly indicate it is a confidential document by stamping or writing in red ink on the front page "Confidential" unless otherwise required by law. No parent or dependent child, absent a court order shall have access to the confidential part of a dependency file.

e. TheICWA section shall contain all documents related to compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act which shall be clearly identified by the party filing the document.

f. All documents not filed in the confidential andICWA file shall be filed in the main folder of the file.

2. In order to protect the parties' privacy and to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of confidential psychological information, psychological evaluation reports shall not be attached to a court report but shall be separately filed in the confidential part of the court's file. A copy of the report shall be given to the attorneys for each party before the time of the hearing and the attorneys shall be responsible for the manner of disclosing the information to her or his client.

3. When submitting documents for filing, in cases involving multiple minors, parties shall submit one additional copy of the document for each additional minor named on any document submitted to the court for filing. The clerk will place the additional copies in each minor's file.

4. If any party proposes findings and orders, the proposed findings and orders shall be submitted to the court separate from any attachments or cover memoranda.

5. If the court orders a party to prepare findings and orders, the party shall serve a copy of the proposed findings and orders on all other parties prior to the time they are submitted to the court.

C. General Competency Requirement of Counsel Who Appear in Juvenile Dependency Proceedings. All public agency and court appointed attorneys who appear in juvenile dependency proceedings, including counsel that represent children, must meet the minimum standards of competence set forth in the California Rules of Court. Attorneys who are privately retained by parents shall provide information to the court as requested regarding her/his competency to represent clients in dependency cases.

D. Procedures to Screen, Train, and Appoint Attorneys Representing Parties.

1. All public agency and court appointed attorneys who represent parties in juvenile dependency proceedings shall meet the minimum standards of training and/or experience set forth in these rules. Each public agency and court appointed attorney of record for a party to a dependency matter pending before the court shall complete and submit to the court a Certificate of Competency Form (VN12). Any public agency and court appointed attorney who appears in a dependency matter for the first time shall complete and submit a Certificate of Competency to the court within 10 days of his or her first appearance in a dependency matter.

2. Public agency and court appointed attorneys who meet the minimum standards of training and/or experience as set forth in these rules, as demonstrated by the information contained in the Certification of Competency submitted to the court, shall be deemed competent to practice before the juvenile court in dependency cases except as provided in subdivision 3 of this rule.

3. Upon submission of a Certification of Competency which demonstrates that the attorney has met the minimum standards for training and/or experience, the court may determine, based on conduct or performance of counsel before the court in a dependency case within the six (6) month period prior to the submission of the certification to the court, that a particular attorney does not meet minimum competency standards. In such cases, the court shall proceed as set forth in Rule D4 wherein an attorney fails to comply.

4. Any public agency or court appointed attorney who appears before the court in a dependency case who does not meet the minimum standards of training or experience shall notify the court to that effect and shall have sixty (60) days to complete the minimum number of hours of training required to fulfill the requirements of these rules. If the public agency or court appointed attorney fails to complete such training, the court shall order that certified counsel be substituted for the attorney who fails to complete the required training.

5. In the case of retained counsel, the court shall inquire at that time the attorney first appears as to her or his competency as defined under California Rules of Court rule 5.660(d) and this rule and whether a Certificate of Competency has been completed and submitted. If the retained attorney does not qualify as "competent counsel" the court shall inform the client. The determination whether to obtain substitute private counsel shall be solely within the client's discretion.

6. In the case of an attorney who maintains his or her principal office outside of this county, proof of certification by the juvenile court of the California county in which the attorney maintains an office shall be sufficient evidence of competence to appear in a juvenile proceeding in this county.

E. Minimum Standard of Education and Training.

1. An attorney who appears in a dependency matter before the juvenile court who completes a Certification of Court Competency must meet the following minimum training and educational requirements.

(a) Within the prior three years, participated in at least eight (8) hours of training or education in juvenile dependency law, which training or education shall have included information on the applicable case law and statutes, the rules of court, Judicial Council forms, motions, trial techniques and skills, writs and appeals, child development, child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, domestic violence, family reunification and preservation; or

(b) Have at least six (6) months of experience in dependency proceedings in which the attorney has demonstrated competence in the attorney's representation of his or her clients in said proceedings. In the determination of whether the attorney has demonstrated competence, the court shall consider whether the attorney's performance has substantially complied with the requirements of these rules, and the applicable rules of the California Rules of Court.

2. In order to retain his or her certification to practice before the juvenile court, each attorney who has been previously certified by the court shall submit a new Certificate of Competency to the court on or before February 28 of the third year after the year in which the attorney is first certified and then every third year thereafter. The attorney shall attach to the renewal Certification of Competency evidence that he or she has completed at least eight (8) hours of continuing training or education directly related to dependency proceedings since the attorney was last certified. Evidence of completion of the required number of hours of training or education may include a copy of a certificate of attendance issued by a California MCLE provider; a certificate of attendance issued by a professional organization which provides training and/or education for its members, whether or not it is a MCLE provider; a copy of the training or educational program schedule together with evidence of attendance at such program; or such other documentation as may reasonably be considered to demonstrate the attorney's attendance at such program. Attendance at a court sponsored or approved program will also fulfill this requirement.

3. The attorney's continuing training or education shall be in the areas set forth in subdivision l(a) of this rule, or in other areas related to juvenile dependency practice including, but not limited to, special education, mental health, health care, immigration issues, the rules of evidence, adoption practice and parentage issues, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, state and federal public assistance programs, the Indian Child Welfare Act, client interviewing and counseling techniques, case investigation and settlement negotiations, mediation, basic motion practice and the rules of civil procedure.

4. When a certified attorney fails to submit evidence that he or she has completed at least the minimum required training and education to the court by the due date, the court shall notify the attorney that he or she will be decertified. That attorney shall have twenty (20) days from the date of the mailing of the notice to submit evidence of his or her completion of the required training or education. If the attorney fails to submit the required evidence or fails to complete the required minimum hours of continuing training or education, the court shall order, except in cases where a party is represented by retained counsel that certified counsel be substituted for the attorney who fails to complete the required training.

F. Standards of Representation.

1. Attorneys or their agents are expected to meet regularly with clients, including clients who are children, regardless of the age of the child or the child's ability to communicate verbally, to contact social workers and other professionals associated with the client's case, to work with other counsel and the court to resolve disputed aspects of a case without a contested hearing, and to adhere to the mandated timelines.

2. The attorney for the child must have sufficient contact with the child to establish and maintain an adequate and professional attorney-client relationship.

3. The attorney for the child is not required to assume responsibilities of a social worker and is not expected to perform services for the child that are unrelated to the child's legal representation.

G. Attorneys for Children. Appointment of counsel for a child who is the subject of a petition under section 300, and is unrepresented by counsel is required, unless the court finds that the child would not benefit from the appointment of counsel.

1. In order to find that a child would not benefit from the appointment of counsel, the court must find all of the following:

(a) The child understands the nature of the proceedings;

(b) The child is able to communicate and advocate effectively with the court, other counsel, other parties, including social workers, and other professionals involved in the case; and

(c) Under the circumstances of the case, the child would not gain any benefit by being represented by counsel.

2. If the court finds that the child would not benefit from representation by counsel, the court must make a finding on the record as to each of the criteria in 1, and state the reasons for each finding.

3. If the court finds that the child would not benefit from representation by counsel, the court must appoint a Court Appointed Special Advocate for the child, to serve as guardian ad litem, as required in Welfare and Institutions Code section 326.5.

H. Court Appointed Special Advocate as Guardian Ad Litem (Welfare and Institutions Code Section 326.5). If the court makes the findings as outlined in F, and does not appoint an attorney to represent the child, the court must appoint a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) as guardian ad litem of the child.

1. The required training of CASA volunteers is set forth in California Rule of Court 5.655.

2. The caseload of a CASA volunteer acting as a guardian ad litem must be limited to ten (10) cases. A case may include siblings, absent a conflict.

3. CASA volunteers must not assume the responsibilities of attorneys for children.

4. The appointment of an attorney to represent the child does not prevent the appointment of a CASA volunteer for that child and the courts are encouraged to appoint both an attorney and a CASA volunteer for the child in as many cases as possible.

I. Caseloads for Children's Attorneys. The attorney for a child must have a caseload that allows the attorney to perform the duties required by Welfare and Institutions Code section 317(e) and this rule and to otherwise adequately counsel and represent the child. To enhance the quality of representation afforded to children, attorneys appointed under this rule must not maintain a maximum full-time case load that is greater than that which allows them to meet requirements set forth in D and E.

J. Procedures for the Review and Resolution of Complaints by Parties Regarding the Performance of Attorneys. Complaints or questions by a party regarding representation in juvenile dependency cases shall be addressed as follows:

1. Complaints or questions shall initially be referred to any agency or law firm appointed to represent the client.

2. If the issue remains unresolved, or if there is no designated agency or law firm, the party may submit the complaint to the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court in writing. The Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court may follow one of the following procedures.

(a) Conduct its own review of the complaint or question and take appropriate action if required, or

(b) Refer the complaint to the State Bar.

3. This rule does not preclude any party from complaining directly to the State Bar of California. However, parties are encouraged to first seek resolution of the issue using the procedure provided above.

K. Procedures to Inform the Court of Interests of the Dependent Child Which Require Further Investigation, Intervention, or Litigation. At any time following the filing of a petition under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300 and until juvenile court jurisdiction is terminated, any interested person may advise the court of information regarding an interest or right of the child to be protected or pursued in other judicial or administrative forums.

1. Judicial Council forms Juvenile Dependency Petition (JV-100), Modification Petition Attachment (JV-180), or a local calendaring and declaration form shall be utilized to inform the court and request direction from the court.

2. If the attorney for the child, or a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) acting as a guardian ad litem, learns of any such interest or right, the attorney or CASA must notify the court immediately and seek instructions from the court as to any appropriate procedures to follow.

3. If the court determines that further action on behalf of the child is required to protect or pursue any interests or rights, the court must appoint an attorney for the child if the child is not already represented by counsel, and do one or all of the following:

(a) Refer the matter to the appropriate agency for further investigation, and require a report to the court and counsel within a reasonable time;

(b) Authorize and direct the child's attorney to initiate and pursue appropriate action;

(c) Appoint a guardian ad litem for the child, who may be the CASA already appointed as guardian ad litem, or a person who will act only if required to initiate and pursue appropriate action.

(d) Take any other action to protect the interests and rights of the child.

L. De Facto Parent. The following provisions govern de facto parent request filed in dependency court proceedings, standings of de facto parents, and duration of status as a de facto parent.

1. Application for de facto parent status.

a. De facto parent status will be granted by the court only upon written request on the mandatory Judicial Council form.

b. Notice of the request and a copy of the request, unless confidential, will be given to all counsel of record by the clerk of the court.

c. Upon filing the request, the clerk shall set the matter for an initial hearing at the already scheduled next hearing date in the dependency case, unless the person filing the request asks the clerk for an earlier hearing date which shall be no earlier than 21 days after the request is filed.

d. Any party may file a response to the de facto parent request.

e. In considering the request, the court may rely upon the contents of the dependency file, any report filed by the social worker or the CASA advocate for the child, and any other relevant and admissible evidence presented by the parties. The court may consider the declaration filed in support of or in opposition to such application. The court may summarily deny the request or set it for an evidentiary hearing.

f. An application for de facto parent status shall not, in itself, constitute good cause for continuing any other hearing in the dependency action.

2. Standing of a de facto parent. If the court grants the application for de facto parent status, the de facto parent shall have standing to participate as parties in disposition hearings and any hearing thereafter at which the status of the dependent child is at issue.

3. Representation of de facto parent. A de facto parent may be represented by counsel at his or her own expense. A de facto parent shall not be entitled to appointed counsel unless the de facto parent makes an express request for appointed counsel and the court finds that the de facto parent is financially eligible for appointed counsel and that appointment of counsel would substantially benefit the resolution of issues before the court. No right to appointment of counsel shall exist for the purpose of making the application for de facto parent status.

4. Access to juvenile case file. A de facto parent does not have automatic access to all documents in the juvenile case file or to all future reports concerning the dependent child, and is only entitled to obtain access to juvenile case file documents and information if expressly authorized by court order. A de facto parent seeking access to juvenile case file documents shall include that request in her or his de facto parent request when filed.

5. Duration of status as de facto parent. De facto parent status shall continue only so long as the bases for granting the request continue to exist between the de facto parent and the child. De facto parent status automatically terminates upon the termination of dependency jurisdiction or upon order of the court.

M. Dismissal and Custody Orders--Subsequent Hearings. If a dependency case is dismissed with a custody order, at the request of any party, a hearing on an order to show cause to modify the custody order filed within one year of the dismissal of the dependency case shall be heard by the judge who presided over the dismissal of the dependency case who shall hear the matter as a family law case.

N. Ex Parte Applications/Orders.

1. An ex parte application to calendar a hearing or to obtain a court order may be made by use of the form entitled Calendaring Request and Notice; Supporting Declaration and Order or by an equivalent document which shall be submitted to the clerk.

2. If the Calendaring Request is filed by a party to the case and it seeks a hearing within less than three days, the hearing shall not be set or calendared without court order. If the Calendaring request is filed by a party to the case and seeks a hearing three or more days after submission, no court order is needed. If a non-party files a Calendaring Request, it shall not be set for hearing without a court order.

3. Advance notice to all other parties of the purpose for seeking an ex parte hearing shall be given and proof of such notice shall be filed at the time the Calendaring Request is submitted to the clerk.

4. The Calendaring Request and Notice; Supporting Declaration and Order form is not a substitute foe a Welfare & Institutions Code section 388 petition, a formal written motion, or supporting points and authorities.

5. Ex Parte Calendaring Requests may be used to request orders authorizing:

a. the minor's travel,

b. termination of life support and do not resuscitate requests;

c. surgical or other medical procedures over the religious objections of the parents or in cases where the medical professionals refuse to perform the procedure without a court order; and

d. for other matters for which there is a need for immediate orders.

6. The following requests may be submitted without notice to other parties:

a. Orders for temporary removal of prisoners or wards and production as a party.

b. Orders for protective custody bench warrants for dependent children who have run away from the placement or whose whereabouts cannot be determined.

c. Orders to recall protective custody bench warrants.

d. Return on a protective custody warrant when the warrant requires the dependent child to appear in court after being returned to placement.

O. Request to Change a Court Order.

1. A request to change a court order shall comply with all laws and rules. Absent a stipulation by all parties, the request must be submitted using form JV-180.

2. The request shall be submitted to the clerk of the court who shall forward it immediately to the dependency court judge.

3. The judge shall summarily deny the request, set the matter for a hearing on whether a prima facie showing has been made, or set the matter for an evidentiary hearing.

4. If the request to change a court order is set for a hearing, and if a party to the dependency case has filed the request, he or she shall be responsible to give notice to all other parties and to serve a copy of the JV-180 request on all parties. In all other cases, the clerk of the court shall give notice of the hearing and serve all parties with a copy of the JV-180 request.

5. The requesting party may propose a hearing date to the court at the time the request is submitted. The court shall be responsible to set the hearing date.

6. If the requesting party is seeking an immediate change in court orders pending an evidentiary hearing, that request shall be clearly stated in the JV-180 request.

P. Visitation Orders. Unless specified otherwise by the court, the following definitions shall apply to visitation orders.

1. " [FN*]Supervised visits with the minor child require the supervisor to be present at all times during the visit and close enough to hear all discussions between the child and the visitor.

2. "Monitored" visits with the minor child require the monitor to check in on the visit at least every 15 minutes.

3. "Overnight" visits means up to two (2) consecutive overnight visits at a time.

4. "Weekend" visits means overnight visits on a weekend.

5. "Extended" visit means up to sixty (60) consecutive days and overnights, but shall not be considered placement.

Q. Requests for Psychotropic Medications Orders. The following procedures are in addition to the procedures that must be followed as provided in California Rules of Court, rule 5.640:

1. Social workers shall be responsible to submit to the court clerk completed applications using mandatory Judicial Council forms for psychotropic medication orders for dependent children.

2. The court clerk shall provide a copy to minor's counsel who shall indicate agreement with the request by initialing the request. If minor's counsel objects to the request the reason for the objection shall be discussed either with the social worker or the treating physician and if the issue cannot otherwise be informally resolved, minor's counsel shall notify the court clerk, and the matter shall be set for hearing.

3. Upon submission of a medication request to the court to which minor's counsel has agreed, the court shall rule upon the request, ex parte. If granted, the request and order shall be filed and a conformed copy of the order returned to the prescribing doctor and social worker by the clerk.

4. If the court grants the requested order but thereafter receives a timely filed opposition to the request, that matter shall be set for hearing.

5. If a request has been submitted to the court but not yet decided and the minor has already been prescribed the requested psychotropic drugs, the attending psychiatrist or physician may continue the administration of those drugs at his or her discretion. However, there shall be no increase in the previously authorized dosage without approval from the juvenile court.

6. Whenever a dependent child is moved to a new placement or to a temporary shelter and the child receiving prescribed medication, the medical or other supervisor at the new placement may continue to administer that medication under supervision of the medical staff or the child's physician. No further order of the court is required and the child's medication must not be abruptly discontinued for lack of such an order.

7. All orders authorizing the administration of psychotropic drugs must be submitted to the court for renewal no later than six (6) months from the date of initial issuance, following the ex parte procedure described in this rule.

CREDIT(S)

Eff. Feb. 1, 1997. As amended, eff. Jan. 1, 1999; Jan. 1, 2001; Jan. 1, 2002; Jan. 1, 2007; Jan. 1, 2009; Jan. 1, 2011.

[FN*] So in original copy.

Ventura County Superior Court Rules, Rule 12.02, CA R VENTURA SUPER CT Rule 12.02

Current with amendments received through 3/1/2011                              


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