Too often the court systems are run and managed through a culture run by blame and fear. Since children are the most vulnerable population, the court sets in place rigid laws to protect their rights and ensure their safety. However, since children are so vulnerable, failure to keep them safe is met with great criticism and even sanctions. Because of this the courts are run by a culture of fear and blame. No one wants to be blamed or the cause of a child being hurt so the court and the agency try and cover all of their backs.
The judges and agency will make decisions based on '"the child's best interests" but may realistically not be necessary. This can be unfortunately can lead to case plans and other decisions being made with stringent requirements that are often overboard and seemingly random. Even though the agency cites that the case plans are made for individual families and meant to address the specific issues each family struggles with, the case plans are generalized and the services are usually the same for most people. Many people are assigned to parenting classes, DV classes, therapy, and or rehab. Even then, the parents must attending CFTs and visits at a set schedule in order to comply with their case plan. The court often fails to consider the parent's working schedule when making these plans but still mandate that the parents show or be penalized. Should the parents protest too much they could be written up as noncompliant or oppositional.
The judges in these courts often "rubber stamp" the case plans that the case workers propose. The judge usually concurs with the agency as to not stir the waters and place themselves for criticism should anything go wrong. Most of the time the judges will abide by any recommendations by the agency. During the hearing, the attorney's do very little to contest the allegations in the report. Even if the parents ask their counsel to questions matters, the typical response they will get is to just comply with their case plans or that the attorney's cannot do anything. Should the parent's not like the judge that they were assigned, they can request a 170.6 which allows them to change their judge based on past prejudice. However the next judge they get can be equally or more prejudice. It is a random pick after a 170.6 is approved.
Generally but not always if the judge has worked years or more in dependency court, this means that their judgement will lean in fovour of the agency. These judges are swayed by the culture of fear and blame. By ordering the parenting to such classes and therapy sessions, it alleviates the blame from the agency should something. The juvenile court relies on the smoking gun theory too often leading to long drawn out cases. By hiring private counsel, parents have a chance of having counsel that really fights for the parents. With proper counsel the parents stand a chance to have a fair hearing. Private counsel will often know all of the various legal recourses that help reveal loopholes the county uses when fighting CWS cases.
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Juvenile Dependency and