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You and Your Attorney

If you are a child in foster care, you should have a lawyer who has been appointed to represent you in Juvenile Court. If you do not know your lawyer, or cannot reach your lawyer, call or e-mail Advokids.

Asking the Judge to Make Decisions  About Your Life

When you are in foster care, the juvenile court judge makes decisions about your life. You have a right to ask the judge to change a decision he/she has made. You have an attorney who should help you with this.

You or your attorney will have to fill out a form called “Request to Change Court Order (Form JV-180)“. The form will explain to the judge that circumstances in your life have changed and you need the judge to make new decisions that will make your life better. You or your attorney must then take or mail copies of the completed form to the court clerk’s office.

The judge may ask the other people involved with your case if they think you have given the judge the kind of information he/she must have in order to change a decision. Then the judge will decide if you told him/her anything new and if the change you want the judge to make is good for you.

 If the judge believes you have not told him/her anything new or believes that what you want is not good for you, the judge will not make any changes. The court clerk will send a written notice of the decision not to make any changes to you and all the people involved with your case.

If the judge believes that you did tell him/her something new and what you are asking for will make life better for you, the judge will schedule a court date for you. The court clerk will send a written notice of the decision to schedule a hearing and the date of the hearing to you and all the people involved with your case.

At that court date, everyone involved in your case will be present and allowed to speak. After everyone has spoken, the judge will make the final decision. The judge will make the changes you want only if he/she believes you have told the court something new and what you are asking for is good for you.

Please ask your attorney if you have any questions. Your attorney should be able to answer your questions about court procedures and the laws. If you do not know your lawyer, or cannot reach your lawyer, call or e-mail Advokids

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Siblings: Asking the Judge to Make Decisions About Your Relationship with Your Brothers or Sisters in Foster Care

If you are a foster child and have a brother or sister who is or might become a dependent of the court, you may ask the judge to make an order permitting visits, to make an order placing you in the same home, to make other orders that may be in the best interest of your brother or sister, and to consider your relationship with your brother or sister when making decisions about him or her. You have an attorney who should help you with this.

You or your attorney will have to fill out a form called “Request to Change Court Order (Form JV-180)“. You or your attorney must then bring copies of the form to the court clerk’s office. The court clerk will send a written notice of any decision to schedule a hearing and the date of the hearing to you and all the people involved with your brother’s or sister’s case. At that court date, everyone involved in the case will be present and allowed to speak. After everyone has spoken, the judge will make the final decision. The judge will make the order about your brother or sister that you asked him/her to make only if the judge believes what you are asking for is good for your brother or sister.

Please ask your attorney if you have any questions. Your attorney should be able to answer your questions about court procedures and the laws. If you do not know your lawyer, or cannot reach your lawyer, call or e-mail Advokids. For more information, see our Sibling Placement and Visitation page.

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Reporting a Problem with Your Attorney

California law and Rules of Court require that anyone who has a court-appointed attorney must be allowed to report a problem or lodge a complaint about their attorney to the presiding judge of the juvenile court. If you would like to contact the presiding judge of your juvenile court and report a problem that you are having with your lawyer, download and fill out the “Request for Assistance with Court Appointed Attorney” form and send it to the juvenile court presiding judge in your county. You may also download instructions for completing the form and a directory of mailing addresses for all juvenile court presiding judges in California.

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Resources for Foster Youth

 

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Legal Disclaimer: Advokids provides educational information and resources to those who use our website, call our hotline, or submit requests for information via the website. Any information provided may not be construed as the giving of legal advice to any person about a particular legal matter and should not be relied upon as the basis for taking a particular action or refraining from taking a particular action in any legal matter. If you want or need legal advice about a particular legal matter, you should consult a lawyer.