Juvenile Dependency Court

The law allows the state to step in to protect a child from harm within the family in a procedure known as a dependency action. Parents with children (ages 0–18) come to the attention of the Juvenile Dependency Court when Child Protective Services (CPS) files court paperwork alleging abuse and/or neglect according to Revised Code Washington (RCW) 13.34.050.

The petition must allege that the child is "dependent." A "dependent child" is a child who:
  • Has been abandoned by his or her parent, guardian, or other custodian
  • Has been abused or neglected by a person legally responsible for his or her care
  • Has no parent, guardian, or custodian capable of providing adequate care
Dependent Youth Information
  • Dependent youth, ages 12 and older, are encouraged to attend court hearings. They should contact their social worker to make sure arrangements are made.
  • Dependent youth, ages 12 and older, have the right to request an attorney. Youth who want to request an attorney should contact the court at 425-388-7953.
  • View specialized services for adolescent youth in foster care.
Parent Information
Juvenile Dependency Process
Services Available Through the Dependency Process
  • Dependency 101 Class - Parent for Parent Support Group: A free class offered to learn more about the Dependency Court process and meet parents who have reunited with their children. Classes are held Mondays and Thursdays. For registration call YWCA Parent for Parent Coordinator Gina Enochs at 425-583-8377. Your case number is needed at time of registration.
  • Family Drug Treatment Court: View the Family Drug Treatment Court webpage for information.
  • Guardian ad Litem: A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) can be appointed to represent the best interests of the child in a dependency proceeding. The duties of the GAL are defined by statute.
Volunteer Opportunities in Juvenile Dependency Court
The need for GAL volunteers in the Juvenile Dependency Court process is great. Nearly one third of the children in the dependency process do not have a GAL. For more information, see the Snohomish County Volunteer Guardian ad Litem (VGAL) Program.