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2017 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.534. General provisions-all proceedings

(a) De facto parents

On a sufficient showing, the court may recognize the child's present or previous custodian as a de facto parent and grant him or her standing to participate as a party in the dispositional hearing and any hearing thereafter at which the status of the dependent child is at issue. The de facto parent may:

(1)Be present at the hearing;

(2)Be represented by retained counsel or, at the discretion of the court, by appointed counsel; and

(3)Present evidence.

(Subd (a) relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (e); previously amended effective January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2014.)

(b) Relatives

(1)On a sufficient showing, the court may permit a relative of the child or youth to:

(A)Be present at the hearing; and

(B)Address the court.

(2)A relative of the child has the right to submit information about the child to the court at any time. Written information about the child may be submitted to the court using Relative Information (form JV-285) or in a letter to the court.

(3)When a relative is located through the investigation required by rule 5.637, the social worker or probation officer must give that relative:

(A)The written notice required by section 309 or 628 and the "Important Information for Relatives" document as distributed in California Department of Social Services All County Letter No. 09-86;

(B)A copy of Relative Information (form JV-285), with the county and address of the court, the child's name and date of birth, and the case number already entered in the appropriate caption boxes by the social worker; and

(C)A copy of Confidential Information (form JV-287).

(4)When form JV-285 or a relative's letter is received by the court, the clerk must provide the social worker or probation officer, all self-represented parties, and all attorneys with a copy of the completed form or letter.

(5)When form JV-287 is received by the court, the clerk must place it in a confidential portion of the case file.

(Subd (b) relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (f); previously amended effective January 1, 2007, January 1, 2011, and January 1, 2014.)

(c) Right to counsel (§§ 317, 633, 634, 700)

At each hearing, the court must advise any self-represented child, parent, or guardian of the right to be represented by counsel and, if applicable, of the right to have counsel appointed, subject to a claim by the court or the county for reimbursement as provided by law.

(Subd (c) relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (g); previously amended effective July 1, 2002, January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2014.)

(d) Appointment of counsel (§§ 317, 353, 633, 634, 700)

(1)In cases petitioned under section 300:

(A)The court must appoint counsel for the child unless the court finds that the child would not benefit from the appointment and makes the findings required by rule 5.660(b); and

(B)The court must appoint counsel for any parent or guardian unable to afford counsel if the child is placed in out-of-home care or the recommendation of the petitioner is for out-of-home care, unless the court finds the parent or guardian has knowingly and intelligently waived the right to counsel.

(2)In cases petitioned under section 601 or 602:

(A)The court must appoint counsel for any child who appears without counsel, unless the child knowingly and intelligently waives the right to counsel. If the court determines that the parent or guardian can afford counsel but has not retained counsel for the child, the court must appoint counsel for the child and order the parent or guardian to reimburse the county;

(B)The court may appoint counsel for a parent or guardian who desires but cannot afford counsel; and

(C)If the parent has retained counsel for the child and a conflict arises, the court must take steps to ensure that the child's interests are protected.

(Subd (d) relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (h); previously amended effective July 1, 2002, January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2014.)

(e) Tribal representatives (25 U.S.C. §§ 1911, 1931-1934)

The tribe of an Indian child is entitled to intervene as a party at any stage of a dependency proceeding concerning the Indian child.

(1)The tribe may appear by counsel or by a representative of the tribe designated by the tribe to intervene on its behalf. When the tribe appears as a party by a representative of the tribe, the name of the representative and a statement of authorization for that individual or agency to appear as the tribe must be submitted to the court in the form of a tribal resolution or other document evidencing an official act of the tribe.

(2)If the tribe of the Indian child does not intervene as a party, the court may permit an individual affiliated with the tribe or, if requested by the tribe, a representative of a program operated by another tribe or Indian organization to:

(A)Be present at the hearing;

(B)Address the court;

(C)Receive notice of hearings;

(D)Examine all court documents relating to the dependency case;

(E)Submit written reports and recommendations to the court; and

(F)Perform other duties and responsibilities as requested or approved by the court.

(Subd (e) relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (i) effective January 1, 1997; previously amended effective July 1, 2002, and January 1, 2007.)

(f) Appointment of educational rights holder (§§ 319, 361, 366, 366.27, 726, 727.2; Gov. Code, §§ 7579.5-7579.6)

(1)If the court limits, even temporarily, the rights of a parent or guardian to make educational or developmental-services decisions for a child under rule 5.649, the court must immediately proceed under rule 5.650 to appoint a responsible adult as educational rights holder for the child.

(2)If a nonminor or nonminor dependent youth chooses not to make educational or developmental-services decisions for him- or herself or is deemed by the court to be incompetent, and the court also finds that the appointment of an educational rights holder would be in the best interests of the youth, then the court must immediately proceed under rule 5.650 to appoint or continue the appointment of a responsible adult as educational rights holder for the youth.

(Subd (f) relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (j) effective January 1, 2008; previously amended effective January 1, 2014.)

(g) Advisement of hearing rights (§§ 301, 311, 341, 630, 702.5, 827)

(1)The court must advise the child, parent, and guardian in section 300 cases, and the child in section 601 or section 602 cases, of the following rights:

(A)The right to assert the privilege against self-incrimination;

(B)The right to confront and cross-examine the persons who prepared reports or documents submitted to the court by the petitioner and the witnesses called to testify at the hearing;

(C)The right to use the process of the court to bring in witnesses; and

(D)The right to present evidence to the court.

(2)The child, parent, guardian, and their attorneys have:

(A)The right to receive probation officer or social worker reports; and

(B)The right to inspect the documents used by the preparer of the report.

(3)Unless prohibited by court order, the child, parent, guardian, and their attorneys also have the right to receive all documents filed with the court.

(Subd (g) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (i); previously amended effective July 1, 2002, and January 1, 2007; previously relettered as subd (j) effective January 1, 1997, and as subd (k) effective January 1, 2008.

(h) Notice

At each hearing under section 300 et seq., the court must determine whether notice has been given as required by law and must make an appropriate finding noted in the minutes.

(Subd (h) relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (j); previously amended effective July 1, 2002, and January 1, 2007; previously relettered as subd (k) effective January 1, 1997, and as subd (l) effective January 1, 2008.)

(i) Address of parent or guardian-notice (§ 316.1)

At the first appearance by a parent or guardian in proceedings under section 300 et seq., the court must order each parent or guardian to provide a mailing address.

(1)The court must advise that the mailing address provided will be used by the court, the clerk, and the social services agency for the purposes of notice of hearings and the mailing of all documents related to the proceedings.

(2)The court must advise that until and unless the parent or guardian, or the attorney of record for the parent or guardian, submits written notification of a change of mailing address, the address provided will be used, and notice requirements will be satisfied by appropriate service at that address.

(3)Notification of Mailing Address (form JV-140) is the preferred method of informing the court and the social services agency of the mailing address of the parent or guardian and change of mailing address.

(A)The form must be delivered to the parent or guardian, or both, with the petition.

(B)The form must be available in the courtroom, in the office of the clerk, and in the offices of the social services agency.

(C)The form must be printed and made available in both English and Spanish.

(4)If the county and the court allow notice of hearings under sections 290.1-295 by electronic mail, persons who are entitled to notice and who want to receive notice of hearings by electronic mail must indicate their consent by filing E-Mail Notice of Hearing: Consent, Withdrawal of Consent, Address Change (Juvenile Dependency) (form EFS-005-JV/JV-141).

(Subd (i) relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (k) effective January 1, 1994; previously relettered as subd (l) effective January 1, 1997; previously relettered as subd (m) effective January 1, 2008; previously amended effective July 1, 2002, January 1, 2007, and July 1, 2016.)

(i) Caregiver notice and right to be heard (§§ 290.1-297, 366.21)

For cases filed under section 300 et seq.:

(1)For any child who has been removed from the home, the court must ensure that notice of statutory review hearings, permanency hearings, and section 366.26 hearings has been provided to the current caregiver of the child, including foster parents, preadoptive parents, relative caregivers, and nonrelative extended family members. Notice of dispositional hearings also must be provided to these individuals when the dispositional hearing is serving as a permanency hearing under section 361.5(f).

(2)The current caregiver has the right to be heard in each proceeding listed in paragraph (1), including the right to submit information about the child to the court before the hearing. Written information about the child may be submitted to the court using the Caregiver Information Form (form JV-290) or in the form of a letter to the court.

(3)At least 10 calendar days before each hearing listed in paragraph (1), the social worker must provide to the current caregiver:

(A)A summary of his or her recommendations for disposition, and any recommendations for change in custody or status;

(B)Caregiver Information Form (form JV-290); and

(C)Instruction Sheet for Caregiver Information Form (form JV-290-INFO).

(4)If the caregiver chooses to provide written information to the court using form JV-290 or by letter, the caregiver must follow the procedures set forth below. The court may waive any element of this process for good cause.

(A)If filing in person, the caregiver must bring the original document and 8 copies to the court clerk's office for filing no later than five calendar days before the hearing.

(B)If filing by mail, the caregiver must mail the original document and 8 copies to the court clerk's office for filing no later than seven calendar days before the hearing.

(5)When form JV-290 or a caregiver letter is received by mail the court clerk must immediately file it.

(6)When form JV-290 or a caregiver letter is filed, the court clerk must provide the social worker, all unrepresented parties, and all attorneys with a copy of the completed form or letter immediately upon receipt. The clerk also must complete, file, and distribute Proof of Service-Juvenile (form JV-510). The clerk may use any technology designed to speed the distribution process, including drop boxes in the courthouse, e-mail, fax, or other electronic transmission, as defined in rule 2.250, to distribute the JV-290 form or letter and proof of service form.

(Subd (j) relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (m) effective October 1, 2007; previously relettered as subd (n) effective January 1, 2008; previously amended effective January 1, 2016.)

Rule 5.534 amended effective January 1, 2017; adopted as rule 1412 effective January 1, 1991; previously amended and renumbered as rule 5.534 effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective January 1, 1994, July 1, 1995, January 1, 1997, January 1, 2000, July 1, 2002, January 1, 2005, October 1, 2007, January 1, 2008, January 1, 2010, January 1, 2011, January 1, 2014, January 1, 2016, and July 1, 2016.

Advisory Committee Comment

Because the intent of subdivision (j) is to expand access to the courts for caregivers of children in out-of-home care, the rule should be liberally construed. To promote caregiver participation and input, judicial officers are encouraged to permit caregivers to orally address the court when caregivers would like to share information about the child. In addition, court clerks should allow filings by caregivers even if the caregiver has not strictly adhered to the requirements in the rule regarding number of copies and filing deadlines.

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