LAKE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT RULES

chapter 19 - juvenile

19.1 Rules of Procedure and Time Lines

The rules of procedure and the time lines set forth in California Rules of Court §§1400-1423, 1425-1499 shall apply to all juvenile proceedings. (eff. 7/1/97)

19.2 General Competency Requirement for Dependency Proceedings

Any attorney appointed to represent a party in a dependency proceeding must meet the minimum standards of competence set forth in these rules. (eff. 7/1/97)

19.3 Screening for Competency

a. Effective July 1, 1997, each appointed attorney seeking to represent parties in juvenile court dependency proceedings shall meet the minimum standards of training and/or experience set forth in these rules.

b. Each appointed attorney of record for a party in a dependency matter pending before the court on July 1, 1997, shall complete an "Application to Practice in Dependency Court", and submit it to the court no later than September 17, 1997.

c. After July 1, 1997, any appointed attorney appearing in a dependency matter for the first time shall complete and submit an application to practice to the court within fifteen (15) days of his or her first appearance in a dependency matter.

d. Attorneys who meet the minimum standards of training and/or experience as set forth in Rule 19.4, as demonstrated in their application, will be deemed competent to practice before the juvenile court in dependency cases.

e. Any attorney appearing before the court in a dependency case pending on July 1, 1997, who does not meet the minimum standards of training and/or experience shall notify the court of that fact and shall have until November 30, 1997, to complete the minimum hours of training necessary for compliance.

f. If an attorney maintains his or her principal office outside of Lake County, proof of compliance with competency requirements in the county of its location shall be sufficient evidence of competence for purpose of these rules. (eff. 7/1/97)

19.4 Minimum Standards of Education and Training

a. Each appointed attorney appearing in a dependency matter before the juvenile court shall not file an application to practice and shall not be certified by the court as competent until the attorney has completed the following minimum training and educational requirements:

1) Eight (8) hours of training and education in juvenile dependency law, within the last two (2) years, covering the following areas: Applicable case law and statutes; rules of court; judicial council forms; writ procedures; child abuse and neglect; child development; family preservation and reunification; or

2) At least six (6) months of regular appearances in dependency proceedings in which the attorney has demonstrated comptetence to the court's satisfaction in the attorney's representation of his or her clients. However, he/she is required to have the training specified in 1) above within 150 days of his/her first appearance in a dependency proceeding.

b. A renewal application to practice before the juvenile court must be submitted to the court during July of the year following the two (2) year anniversary of the submission of the original application to practice. Those attorneys who submitted their original application in July shall file their renewal application at or near the two year anniversary date. The attorney shall attach to the renewal application evidence that he or she completed at least six (6) hours of continuing training or education directly related to dependency proceedings since the last application. A certificate of attendance at MCLE training, professional organization training (along with a copy of the program schedule) and/or attendance at court sponsored or approved training will also fulfill this requirement.

c. Failure to supply proof of completion of continuing education or training by the due date, will cause the court to notify the attorney that his or her right to practice in dependency proceedings is revoked. The attorney shall have thirty (30) days from mailing of notice to submit proof of completion of the required education or training. If the attorney fails to submit such proof, the court shall order that the attorney is prohibited from practicing in dependency proceedings and shall appoint certified competent counsel to substitute in. (eff. 7/1/97)

19.5 Appointments

a. The court will appoint only counsel who have submitted applications required by these rules and have been certified by the court to represent parents or children in the dependency court.

b. Notificiation of appointment will be communicated by phone call and copy of written order.

c. Billing shall be forwarded to the court with appropriate documentation for approval. (eff. 7/1/97)

19.6 Standards of Representation

All attorneys appearing in dependency proceedings shall meet the following minimum standards of representation:

a. The attorney shall thoroughly investigate the accuracy of the allegations of the petition or other moving papers and the court reports filed in support thereof. This shall include conducting a comprehensive interview with the client to ascertain his or her knowledge of, and/or involvment in the matters alleged or reported, and contacting social workers and other professionals associated with the case to ascertain that the allegations and/or reports are supported by accurate facts and reliable information.

b. The attorney shall determine the client's wishes and interests. Except in those cases in which the clients whereabouts is unknown, this shall include a comprehensive interview with the client. The attorney shall advise the client of the possible course of action and the risks and each.

This shall include advising the client of the risk and benefits of resolving disputed matters without the necessity of a hearing and of the necessity for adhering to court mandated time limits.

c. The attorney shall vigorously represent the client's interests within the applicable legal and ethical boundaries. This shall include the duty to work cooperatively with other counsel and the court to explore ways to resolve disputed matters without hearing if it is possible to do so in a way which is consistent with the client's interests, and to comply with local rules and procedures as well as with statutorily mandated time lines.

d. Any attorney appointed to represent a child in a dependency proceeding shall conduct client interviews as required by law. The attorney shall decide after consideration of the client's interests, views, age, sophistication and circumstances, the appropriateness of advocating the child's views if it differs from that of the attorney regarding the child's best interests. Nothing herein shall preclude the attorney from expressing both views, when the attorney beleives it to be appropriate, or requesting that a guardian ad litem be appointed for the child. (eff. 7/1/97)

19.7 Procedures for Reviewing and Resolving Complaints

a. Any party to a juvenile court proceeding may lodge a written complaint with the court concerning the performance of his or her appointed attorney in a juvenile court proceeding. In the case of a complaint concerning the performance of an attorney appointed to represent a minor, the complaint may be lodged on the child's behalf by the social worker, a caretaker, relative or a foster parent.

b. Upon receipt of a written complaint, the court shall notify the attorney in question of the complaint, shall provide the attorney with a copy of the complaint and shall give the attorney fifteen days from the date of the notice to respond to the complaint in writing.

c. After response has been filed by the attorney or the time for the submission of a response has passed, the court shall review the complaint and the response, if any, to determine whether the attorney acted contrary to local rules or policies or has acted incompetently. The court may ask the complainant or the attorney for additional information pror to making a determination on the complaint.

d. If, after reviewing the complaint, the response, and any additional information, the court, either in writing or at oral hearing, finds that the attorney acted contrary to the rules or policies or has acted incompetently, the court shall take appropriate action.

e. The court shall notify the attorney and complaining party either in writing or by oral ruling at a closed hearing of its determination of the complaint. The court's determination will be final. (eff. 7/1/97)

19.8 Procedures for Informing the Court of the Interests of a Dependent Child

a. At any time during the pendency of a dependency proceeding, any interested person may notify the court that the minor who is the subject of the proceeding may have an interest or right which needs to be protected or pursued in another judicial or administrative forum.

b. Notice to the court may be given by the filing of judicial council form JV-180 or by filing of a declaration. The person giving notice shall set forth the nature of the interests or right which needs to be protected or pursued, the name and address, if known of the administrative agency or judicial forum in which the right or interest may be affected and the nature of the proceedings being contemplated or conducted there.

c. If the court determines that further action on behalf of the child is required, the court shall do one or more of the following:

(1) authorize the minor's attorney to pursue the matter on the child's behalf;

(2) appoint an attorney for the child if the child is unrepresented;

(3) notice a joinder hearing pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 362 complelling the responsible agency to report to the court with respect to whether it has carried out its statutory duties with respect to the child;

(4) appoint a guardian ad litem for the child for the purposes of initiating or pursuing appropriate action in the other forum(s);

(5) take any other action the court may deem necessary or appropriate to protect the welfare, interests and rights of the child. (eff. 7/1/97)