DHR Cases in Alabama
Department of Human Resources (DHR cases) or “juvenile dependency” cases involve the State of Alabama stepping into a home to take children away from their parents or guardians “for the good of the child.” It is unbelievably essential to have proper representation during these most serious of proceedings.
How DHR Cases Start
Often these cases begin with a report to the Alabama Department of Human Resources by a neighbor or familiar person that there are serious problems in the household with the care and/or control of children that reside there. Children/juveniles are found to be “dependent” when the State of Alabama petitions a Family Court to find that the children’s parents can no longer care for the children.
When a child is found to be dependent, they become a ward of the state and the State of Alabama will try to place them first and foremost with an immediate family member or some other relative. If this is not possible, children may end up in a foster home.
Termination of Parental Rights in DHR Cases
An extreme measure used by State DHR cases is to terminate a parent’s rights when clear and convincing evidence shows that those parents are unwilling or unable to properly care for their children. The defense of these proceedings involves complex legal standards and mechanisms, and many parents will lose these types of battles without proper legal representation.
Regaining Parental Rights
After placement away from parents, it is possible for parents to come back and petition the court to allow them to get their children back. This process usually involves the parent or parents taking steps in the direction of their role as caregiver – more specifically, it usually requires the parents to fulfill whatever conditions they were ordered to perform by the court. For example, if children were taken away because of the parent’s drug use, a parent may have to show that they have attended substance abuse counseling and have been drug free for a period of time. If the children were made wards of the state because of neglect or poor conditions in the home in DHR cases, the parent may have to show that the home situation is now clean and stable, or that they have taken measures to become better parents.
It is imperative to retain a skilled attorney to protect or regain your most precious of rights: to take care of your children and to keep them with you.
DHR cases are each different. Sound legal advice can only be gotten by speaking to a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.