Cal.Rules of Court, Rule 5.502
 Formerly cited as CA ST TRIAL CT Rule 1401
California Rules of Court (Refs & Annos)
Title 5. Family and Juvenile Rules (Refs & Annos)
Division 3. Juvenile Rules (Refs & Annos)
Chapter 1. Preliminary Provisions--Title and Definitions (Refs & Annos)
Rule 5.502. Definitions and use of terms

Definitions (§§ 202(e), 319, 361, 361.5(a)(3), 628.1, 636, 726, 727.3(c)(2), 727.4(d); 20 U.S.C. § 1415; 25 U.S.C. § 1903(2))

As used in these rules, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires:

(1) “Affinity” means the connection existing between one spouse or domestic partner and the blood or adoptive relatives of the other spouse or domestic partner.

(2) “At risk of entering foster care” means that conditions within a child's family may require that the child be removed from the custody of a parent or guardian and placed in foster care unless or until those conditions are resolved.

(3) “CASA” means Court Appointed Special Advocate as defined in rule 5.655.

(4) “Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) guardian ad litem for a child subject to a juvenile dependency petition” is defined in rule 5.662.

(5) “Child” means a person under the age of 18 years.

(6) “Clerk” means the clerk of the juvenile court.

(7) “Court” means the juvenile court and includes any judicial officer of the juvenile court.

(8) “Court-ordered services” or “court-ordered treatment program” means child welfare services or services provided by an appropriate agency ordered at a disposition hearing at which the child is declared a dependent child of the court, and any hearing thereafter, for the purpose of maintaining or reunifying a child with a parent or guardian.

(9) “Date the child entered foster care” means:

(A) In dependency, the date on which the court sustained the petition filed under section 300 or 60 days after the “initial removal” of the child as defined below, whichever is earlier; or

(B) In delinquency, the date 60 days after the date on which the child was initially removed from the home, unless one of the following exceptions applies:

(i) If the child is detained pending foster care placement and remains detained for more than 60 days, then the “date the child entered foster care” means the date the court declares the child a ward and orders the child placed in foster care under the supervision of the probation officer;

(ii) If, before the child is placed in foster care, the child is committed to a ranch, camp, school, or other institution pending placement, and remains in that facility for more than 60 days, then the “date the child entered foster care” is the date the child is physically placed in foster care; or

(iii) If, at the time the wardship petition was filed, the child was a dependent of the juvenile court and in out-of-home placement, then the “date the child entered foster care” is the date defined in (A).

(10) “De facto parent” means a person who has been found by the court to have assumed, on a day-to-day basis, the role of parent, fulfilling both the child's physical and psychological needs for care and affection, and who has assumed that role for a substantial period.

(11) “Detained” means any removal of the child from the person or persons legally entitled to the child's physical custody, or any release of the child on home supervision under section 628.1 or 636.

(12) “Domestic partner” means two adults who have chosen to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring as described in Family Code section 297.

(13) “Educational representative” means the responsible adult who holds the educational rights for a child when the parent's or guardian's educational rights have been limited by the court. The educational representative acts as the child's spokesperson, educational decision maker, and parent in regard to all educational matters, including those defined in sections 319, 361, and 726; Education Code section 56055; Government Code section 7579.5; and title 20 (commencing with section 1400) of the United States Code and part 300 (commencing with section 300.1) of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The educational representative holds educational and privacy rights as the child's parent as defined in title 20 United States Code section 1232g and 34 Code of Federal Regulations section 99.3.

(14) “Foster care” means residential care provided in any of the settings described in section 11402.

(15) “Foster parent” includes a relative with whom the child is placed.

(16) “Guardian” means legal guardian of the child.

(17) “Hearing” means a noticed proceeding with findings and orders that are made on a case-by-case basis, heard by either of the following:

(A) A judicial officer, in a courtroom, in which the proceedings are recorded by a court reporter; or

(B) An administrative panel, provided that the hearing meets the conditions described in section 366.3(d) and (e) for dependents and section 727.4(d)(7)(B) for delinquents.

(18) “Initial removal” means the date on which the child, who is the subject of a petition filed under section 300 or 600, was taken into custody by the social worker or a peace officer, or was deemed to have been taken into custody under section 309(b) or 628(c), if removal results in the filing of the petition before the court.

(19) “Member of the household,” for purposes of section 300 proceedings, means any person continually or frequently found in the same household as the child.

(20) “Modification of parental rights” means a modification of parental rights through a tribal customary adoption under Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.24.

(21) “Notice” means a paper to be filed with the court accompanied by proof of service on each party required to be served in the manner prescribed by these rules. If a notice or other paper is required to be given to or served on a party, the notice or service must be given to or made on the party's attorney of record, if any.

(22) “Notify” means to inform, either orally or in writing.

(23) “Petitioner,” in section 300 proceedings, means the county welfare department; “petitioner,” in section 601 and 602 proceedings, means the probation officer or prosecuting attorney.

(24) “Preadoptive parent” means a licensed foster parent who has been approved to adopt a child by the California State Department of Social Services, when it is acting as an adoption agency, or by a licensed adoption agency, or, in the case of an Indian child for whom tribal customary adoption is the permanent plan, the individual designated by the child's identified Indian tribe as the prospective adoptive parent.

(25) “Probation officer,” in section 300 proceedings, includes a social worker in the county agency responsible for the administration of child welfare.

(26) “Punishment” means the imposition of sanctions, as defined in section 202(e), on a child declared a ward of the court after a petition under section 602 is sustained. A court order to place a child in foster care must not be used as punishment.

(27) “Reasonable efforts” or “reasonable services” means those efforts made or services offered or provided by the county welfare agency or probation department to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child, or to resolve the issues that led to the child's removal in order for the child to be returned home, or to finalize the permanent placement of the child.

(28) “Relative” means

(A) An adult who is related to the child by blood, adoption, or affinity within the fifth degree of kinship. This term includes:

(i) A parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, great-grandparent, great-aunt or -uncle (grandparents' sibling), first cousin, great-great-grandparent, great-great-aunt or -uncle (great-grandparents' sibling), first cousin once removed (parents' first cousin), and great-great-great-grandparent;

(ii) A stepparent or stepsibling; and

(iii) The spouse or domestic partner of any of the persons described in subparagraphs (A)(i) and (ii), even if the marriage or partnership was terminated by death or dissolution; or

(B) An extended family member as defined by the law or custom of an Indian child's tribe. (25 U.S.C. § 1903(2).)

(29) “Removal” means a court order that takes away the care, custody, and control of a dependent child or ward from the child's parent or guardian, and places the care, custody, and control of the child with the court, under the supervision of the agency responsible for the administration of child welfare or the county probation department.

(30) “Section” means a section of the Welfare and Institutions Code unless stated otherwise.

(31) “Sibling group” means two or more children related to each other by blood, adoption, or affinity through a common legal or biological parent.

(32) “Social study,” in section 300, 601, or 602 proceedings, means any written report provided to the court and all parties and counsel by the social worker or probation officer in any matter involving the custody, status, or welfare of a child in a dependency or wardship proceeding.

(33) “Social worker,” in section 300 proceedings, means an employee of the county child welfare agency and includes a probation officer performing the child welfare duties.

(34) “Subdivision” means a subdivision of the rule in which the term appears.

(35) “Tribal customary adoption” means adoption by and through the tribal custom, traditions, or law of an Indian child's tribe as defined in Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.24 and to which a juvenile court may give full faith and credit under 366.26(e)(2). Termination of parental rights is not required to effect a tribal customary adoption.


(Formerly Rule 1401, adopted, eff. Jan. 1, 1990. As amended, eff. July 1, 1992; July 1, 1997; Jan. 1, 1998; Jan. 1, 1999; Jan. 1, 2001; July 1, 2002; Jan. 1, 2003. Renumbered Rule 5.502 and amended, eff. Jan. 1, 2007. As amended, eff. Jan. 1, 2008; July 1, 2010; Jan. 1, 2011.)

Current with amendments received through July 1, 2011.


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