Notice of Hearings
Foster Parents must be given notice of nearly all dependency hearings. No matter what County your case is in, it is not uncommon for the social worker to fail to provide notice to the foster parents. If you find yourself in this situation, you should remind the social worker that you want notice of the hearings and that, by law, foster parents are entitled to notice. If you are still not receiving notice, you should take legal action.
JV-290 Caregiver Information Form
This form should be periodically provided to you by the social worker. If not, this form is easily downloadable through a simple google search. You should fill out this form and submit it either to the social worker or directly to the court prior to each hearing.
De Facto Parent Status
De Facto Parent status was created by case law over 30 years ago. The cases recognize that at some point, foster parents reach an elevated status when their relationship with the child(ren) becomes so significant that they must be allowed to participate in the court hearings and offer information and evidence to the judge. There is no bright line rule on how long a child must be residing with a foster parent to reach de facto status. The numerous cases on point focus more on the quality of the relationship rather than the quantity of time together.
A good way to describe De Facto Parent status is by the following analogy. A De Facto Parent is like a guest at an exclusive family dinner. Even though the guest is not family, they are invited in and allowed to participate like a family member.
Why should I apply for De Facto Parent status? If you are interested in adopting the child but you have been made aware that the child protective agency has other plans, you need to file for de facto so that you can go to court and let the Judge know of your position.
You can download the forms JV295, 296, 297, etc. and file them, but in most cases, a legal motion with case authority is recommended.