Report Child Abuse and Initiate Court Review
A child who is abandoned and without resources, who is being abused, neglected, or exploited, or who is at imminent risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation qualifies for court protection.
If you think a child is being abused, neglected or exploited, then your first step should be to call the Child Abuse Reporting Number specific to the California county where the child is located, or contact the local police or sheriff’s department and report your concern. You can call anonymously, unless you are an official mandated reporter. The county child welfare agency must conduct a risk assessment to decide whether the child needs protection. Please note that if you call the agency to follow up, the agency will not share information about their investigation with you.
If after reporting you suspect that the child is still being abused, neglected or exploited, then ask the county child welfare agency to immediately commence court proceedings to bring the child under the protection of the juvenile court by filing the JV-210 Form.
Whenever a child is in need of the protection and juvenile court proceedings have not been initiated, any person can request the social worker to commence court proceedings by submitting an application to the social worker or the social services agency setting forth facts that establish that the child comes within the provisions of Welfare and Institutions Code Section 300 and is in need of the court’s protection. Welfare and Institutions Code § 329
How to file a JV-210 to Initiate Court Proceedings
In order to initiate court proceedings for a child's protection, you must complete and submit a JV-210 form to the social worker. The JV-210 is written in the form of a declaration under penalty of perjury.
Tips for completing the JV-210:
- The JV-210 must be sent to the social services agency in the county in which the child regularly resides or the county in which the child was or is present.
- Address the JV-210 application to your county social services agency director of Children and Family Services and send it by certified mail, return receipt requested. If there is an agency social worker involved with the child, send a courtesy copy to the assigned social worker.
- The facts submitted to the social worker must be as concise and as complete as possible. Any facts you include in your JV-210 are signed by you under penalty of perjury.
- Note that there is very little space for “setting forth facts” on the JV-210. On the JV-210 under number 6 check “See attachment 6″ and fill in the blank for number of pages attached. Be sure to label each attachment page “Attachment to JV-210″ with your name, address, and telephone number.
- Before you submit the JV-210 to the social services agency, be sure to keep a copy of the JV-210 and all of the attachments, for your records and for future filing with the court, if necessary.
Upon receiving the application, a social services agency social worker must immediately investigate the circumstances of the child. Within three weeks after you file the application, the social worker must notify you of the agency’s decision to initiate or not initiate court proceedings and state the reasons for his/her decision in the social worker section of the JV-210.
What To Do If The Social Worker Does Not Initiate Court Proceedings (JV-215)
If after receiving a JV-210 the social worker does not file a petition to initiate juvenile court proceedings, the social worker must state the reasons for refusing to file on the second page of the JV-210. The applicant may then, within one month of the date the JV-210 was originally submitted, apply to the juvenile court to review the decision of the social worker.
Welfare and Institutions Code § 331
In order to ask the juvenile court to review the social workers decision not to initiate court proceedings for a child you are concerned about, you must file a JV-215.
Tips for completing the JV-215:
- You file the JV-215 with the clerk of the juvenile court at the courthouse in the county in which you filed the JV-210.
- The facts submitted to the court must be as concise and as complete as possible. Any facts you use to show that the child comes within the jurisdiction of the court must be in the form of a statement signed under penalty of perjury. Judicial Council form JV-215 is signed by the applicant (you) under penalty of perjury.
- Attach any new crucial facts that have occurred or become known since you filed the JV-210 application with the social worker. Note that there is very little space for “setting forth facts” on the JV-215. On the JV-215 under Number 5 check “See attachment 5.” Write in the number of pages attached. Be sure to label each attachment page “Attachment to JV-215″ with your name, address, and telephone number.
- For documentation from third parties (such as neighbors, extended family, doctors, therapists, and teachers) please use the Judicial Council Declaration Form MC-030, which is a declaration signed under penalty of perjury. If there is not enough space on the Form MC-030, put this as the last sentence on the form itself “Please see attached pages 2 through___ . The attached pages are incorporated by reference as though fully stated herein." Be sure to label each attached page as “Attachment to MC-030″ with your name, address, and telephone number.
- Attach a complete copy of your JV-210 application including the second page signed by the social worker and all attachments to the original, to your JV-215 application.
- You should send a copy of the complete JV-215 to the county social services agency director and a courtesy copy to the assigned social worker, if known.
Some Counties Have Specific "Local" Rules Related to This Procedure
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