Information for Relatives and NREFMs

Relatives

When a child is detained by the county social services agency, the agency has certain legal obligations to identify and notify relatives (including siblings) of the child’s removal.  The county agency also has a legal obligation to assess those relatives and/or non-relative extended family members (NREFMs) for placement.  In addition to the county agency's legal obligations, the juvenile dependency court has the obligation to make certain inquiries and findings at the detention and disposition hearings related to the child's placement.  

This section outlines the agency and court's duties and obligations with regard to a dependent child.  When these duties and obligations are not performed, certain rights and remedies are available to relatives and/or NREFMs to address the agency and/or court's failures.

Legal Definitions

The County Agency’s Role and Legal Obligations

The Court's Role at Detention and Disposition:  Inquire About Relatives and Make Findings on Agency's Due Diligence in Locating Them

At the detention hearing the court must ask the parent(s) of the child to provide contact information about maternal and paternal relatives so the social worker can contact them and initiate an assessment if they are willing to be considered for placement.  The social worker must include in the detention report the results of any assessment of a relative home conducted under §309(d).  The agency must also have a procedure for the relatives of a child who has been removed to identify themselves to the social worker and be provided with notice of dependency proceedings.

At the disposition hearing, the court must make findings as to whether the social services agency used due diligence to identify, locate and notify relatives and may order the agency to take additional steps to identify relatives if it finds that the agency has not used due diligence.
Welfare and Institutions Code §§ 309(e)(3), 319(f)(3), 361.3(a); California Rules of Court 5.637, 5.695(f)

Rights and Remedies Available to Relatives and NREFMs

Relative and/or NREFM Placement Considerations

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