Founded in 2012, Dependency Legal Services (DLS) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law firm providing legal representation and advocacy to indigent families in juvenile dependency proceedings, including children, parents, guardians and Native American custodians in California’s Child Welfare System.
We believe that everyone involved in the child welfare system deserves high quality legal representation, advocates throughout the process, and compassion.
We only work with clients appointed to us by the Juvenile Court in the Northern California counties we serve and do not represent clients on a retained basis.
Our mission is to provide a multidisciplinary team of professionals to families involved with the child welfare system in order to achieve successful outcomes for every client.
In every case we take on, our team works both inside and outside of the courtroom to address the root causes behind the client’s entrance into the child welfare system, remove barriers to family reunification, and support permanence for both the children and their guardians.
In addition to advocating for our clients, DLS also uses the legal process to improve the child welfare system as a whole. We collaborate with other stakeholders to support initiatives that work toward juvenile court goals.
All that we do at Dependency Legal Services is guided by a firm commitment to our values as an organization.
- Our ethical obligations are paramount.
- We are accountable and hold others accountable.
- We treat our clients with dignity and respect.
- We lead by example.
- We recognize that dependency practice is a privilege.
- We embrace the immense responsibility of providing quality appointed representation.
- We are dedicated to our work, strive to be the best attorneys in the courtroom and raise the quality of representation.
- We seek positive systemic changes on behalf of our clients.
- We believe in collaboration and zealous advocacy.
- We provide exceptional training to our attorneys drawing upon our years of experience.
- We believe that spending time with our clients to educate them about their rights and the process empowers them to assist in their representation.
- Our work environment must be safe physically and emotionally.
- We are committed to a respectful, diverse and inclusive working environment.
Our multidisciplinary team of professionals includes attorneys, investigators, social workers, psychologists, administrative staff and parent mentors committed to client advocacy and empowerment.
Where We Work
By working in eight Northern California counties, DLS is able to marshal the resources, influence and experience of a large firm for the benefit of the small and mid-size counties where we work.
- Lake County
- Marin County
- Mendocino County
- Placer County
- Solano County
- Sonoma County
- Stanislaus County
- Yolo County
Our model is tailored to fit the unique needs and culture of each county we serve while using our team’s expertise to enhance parent and child representation.
Affiliated Organizations & Justice Partners
Get In Touch
We invite you to reach out to our team with questions or comments about our work.