Dependency Legal Services (DLS) provides high quality and compassionate legal representation to indigent families in juvenile dependency proceedings.
While we represent both parents/guardians and children in the child welfare system, all clients are appointed to us by the juvenile courts in the counties we serve. We do not represent clients on a retained basis.
Full Family Representation
By representing both parents and children, DLS can ensure an even playing field to work toward the outcome that’s best for the whole family. While each individual is provided a dedicated attorney who is committed to representing that client, all family members have access to the services and resources that they need to achieve their desired outcomes through this approach.
Along with high quality legal representation, multidisciplinary advocacy enables more of our clients to reunify and strengthen their families.
4,000 Clients Across Eight Counties
Across the eight Northern California counties that we serve, DLS supports around 4,000 clients at any given time. Typically, 60% are parents or guardians and 40% are children in the child welfare system. The individual contracts within each county may involve representing parents and guardians, children, or both parties in juvenile dependency proceedings, depending on the county.
By supporting eight different counties, DLS is able to draw the resources, influence and experience of a large firm for the benefit of the small and mid-size counties where we work.
Ongoing Training and Mentorship
Dependency Legal Services is able to improve child welfare outcomes because of the care, knowledge and experience of our team. That’s why DLS aims to provide the highest level of attorney training, mentoring and supervision possible to its staff and contractors.
DLS attorneys also use the legal process to work toward systems improvement and hold system partners accountable whenever necessary. Consistent with best practices, we actively participate in all systems meetings and collaborate with all stakeholders to support Court-sanctioned initiatives designed to effectuate juvenile court goals. See our policy and legislation wins.