You are looking for self help? Are you serious? You do realize how serious this matter is don't you? If you seriously intend to fight this matter on your own I can only wish you the best of luck. You need serious legal help from a professional. You also need to realize that these allegations can also become felony charges against you where you could not only lose your child but also your freedom! I'm talking YEARS in state prison. Are you sure you want to handle this on your own?
As for advise, what do the various forms say? If you fax or e-mail them to me I can better advise you as to your options. But at a minimum, you NEED to timely file a response to the allegations. You have too much at stake to go this alone. Things you say in dependency court may be used against you in criminal court!!! Are you sure you want to go this alone??? If you are looking for professional help, not just some free advise so you can try and do this yourself, I would be happy to discuss this matter with you.
By served with a Dependency Petition, I assume you mean you were supposed to go to Mont Park for a court appearance. In terms of the self help portion, the court appoints counsel to represent you. Yes they are busy people and you will not get the kind of attention as you might from private attorney. But then again you pay for private counsel. I was in that court house for over 12 years on a daily basis, but now and since 2000 I only do private cases. My predecessor advice is closer to the mark, and be very careful because this desire to prove innocence with sexual abuse allegations, can turn from Depend Court to Criminal Court prosecution. It happens more than you know, again, just be careful and listen carefully to counsels advice. Not too many attorney really know Dependency, and many many good criminal lawyers in town. So consider the options if possible.