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Should I just agree to a dependency order? I feel I have a solid case to fight it, but my attorney is is no help.

Vancouver, WA |

My kids were taken because I was a victim of domestic violence and they felt I couldn't keep my kids safe. I have done everything to keep them safe and the abuser is in jail. They still won't give me my kids. I need a shark on my side to prove I am capable of keeping my kids safe, but I can't find an attorney with experience with cps cases. My court appointed wants me to just sign a dependency order that says I am not capable of taking care of my girls. That is not correct. What should I do?

My mother is offering to sell her wedding ring to pay for an attorney willing to fight. How can I find one? Finding someone with experience with cps cases has been difficult.

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Attorney answers 5


A "shark" will be very expensive, especially if you are dealing wiht CPS. To porve that you are capable of keeping "them safe" would probably require expert testimony which is also expensive. You can only do what you can do within your budget. If you do not have money to hire a private attorney, you should take the advice of appointed counsel.

Please note that THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE and are for informational purposes only. This response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is only based on the limited facts given. The response might change should additional facts be learned and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can properly assess the situation, as well as all pertinent facts, prior to taking any action based on the foregoing statements


Almost all the attorneys that I have met that are assigned counsel and do dependency work HAVE experience with dependency cases. Experienced family law attorneys may have very few cases in dependency. However, they have a lot of experience in complex litigation and are good advocates. Being an assigned counsel does not mean that they do not know what they are talking about.

You have an attorney. The state is required to give the attorney a packet that is called "discovery". Set up an appointment with your attorney at their office to sit down and go over the packet. The packet contains the information that is going to be used against you at a fact finding hearing. Have the attorney explain to you the legal standard that the state has to prove and have them show you how the info in the packet tends to be helpful or harmful for your case. Take notes. Discuss what evidence or witnesses you could get to bring to the fact finding hearing that would show you in a positive light.

You have an attorney. They work for you. You may not like their opinion, but, they are required to offer you legal advice. You are suppose to take their advice into consideration when making a decision about what to do. It is possible to have the court decide. It is possible that your attorney is telling you that the risks of a fact finding hearing are greater than you may want to have in your future. Discuss with your attorney and "a"; "b: or "c" dependency and the impact of each on your future. If you don;t understand - ask more clarifying questions. Good luck


You're in Vancouver so I suggest contacting either the Clark County Volunteer Lawyer's Project or the YWCA Safechoice program. A lot of good family lawyers volunteer at CCVLP and the Y also has a family law free clinic. Good luck!

The answers to these questions may be different depending on your individual circumstance and should not be considered as legal advice or the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


I have experience in dependency court however I live in Moses Lake, WA and that is a long way away. In my opinion you sit down with you PD and make sure he/she understands your side and then LISTEN TO his/her advise and then make a decision on what to do. The State is obligated to do everything possible to get those kids into your home so if you want to fight it do it but understand that it will cost money to do so with a private attorney. I have 5 years experience in Dependency and so you decide what you want to do.

Patrick Owen Earl

Patrick Owen Earl


I see that I could call you but I won't now because it is Saturday morning and I live in ML. So if you want to talk to me you call/email me. Have a great day.

Patrick Owen Earl

Patrick Owen Earl


If you found my comment/advise above to be "helpful" or the "best" you can mark it and that would help me! Thank you very much!!


You need to meet with your appointed counsel and fully discuss his/her recommendation. Lawyers appointed in dependency cases are very capable and knowledgeable. In my jurisdiction, there are very few private attorneys that specialize in dependency cases. As the client, you must fully understand what the allegations are against you, what evidence does the State possess to support those allegations and what are your potential avenues are to address the allegations. The Petition for Dependency must specifically set forth the facts that State believes require the court to find your children dependent and why you are unable to care for the children. The State is obligated to provide you services to address the issues which they assert keep you from being able to care for your children. Those services can be provided without the finding by the court of dependency. You can also obtain services independently of the State to address any alleged deficiencies. You need to fully discuss with your attorney what the specific allegations being made by the State against you before you can decide whether his/her advice is right for you.

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