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Dependency FAQ

Dependency (Children's Court)

My child was taken by Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), what can I do?
When DCFS takes your child(ren) from you, they file a petition alleging abuse, neglect or failure to protect at the Monterey Park Children's Court. If you do not have the financial ability to hire an attorney, then one will be appointed to you by the court.
If you decide to hire private counsel, understand that dependency law is very unique, and the practice of law at the Monterey Park Children's Court is very different than most other superior courts.
At The Law Offices of Robert L. Howell in Studio City, California, Robert Howell has those special qualifications. Robert spent 18 months representing parents at dependency court, where he gained a reputation as a vigorous advocate for parents. Before that, Robert had practiced 2 years as a private attorney representing parents in dependency court and has done so since he left his employment as a dependency court appointed attorney. Robert has the experience and knowledge you need to protect all your rights as a parent in dependency proceedings.

Educational Rights

My child is having difficulty at school, what can I do to get the school to help?
A lot of parents are faced with the fact that their child does not seem to be doing well in school. Maybe you suspect some learning disability or other problem. What you need to do to start is request from the school and assessment of your child to determine if they have a problem.
If your child is assessed and identified with a problem impairing their ability to get an education, then your child is entitled to an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to address their problems. These problems can range from emotional issues, attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD), medical issues, identified disabilities, autism, or mental disorders. No matter what it is, your child has the right to an education and the school must accommodate your child's special needs.
These accommodations can be as simple as moving a child to the front of the class, allowing them to tape record classes or as complex as moving them to special education classes or non-public schools, or in the extreme cases, having your child placed in residential treatment.
Most parents will find school districts will stall or never even inform them of their rights. That is where the Law Offices of Robert L. Howell can help. I have extensive experience with the issues involved in getting schools to accommodate children, whether for just an IEP or placement in residential treatment. Don't be put off by the tactics of a school district, get legal help to insure your child receives the education they are entitled to.


I am a step-parent and want to adopt my spouses child(ren), what do I do?
Step-parent adoptions are fairly common and not to difficult. However, it is advisable to hire an attorney to guide you through the paperwork, to insure that everything is filled out correctly and filed in the proper court.

I want to adopt a child?
There are many options for adopting children; surrogacy, foreign adoptions, agency adoptions and adoptions through the county (Department of Children and Family Services). Each type of adoption has its own unique problems and challenges, and should be handled by an experienced attorney.
At the Law Offices of Robert L. Howell, we handle step-parent adoptions, and adoptions through the County of Los Angeles.

Juvenile Delinquency (Criminal)

My child has been accused of a crime, what do I do?
If your child is under 18 and is accused of a crime, you will need an attorney. Although your child may be appointed a public defender, you must decide if that person is the right fit for your situation. Some questions you can ask a public defender include: How much of a caseload do they have? How much time will they be able to devote to your child's case? And what options can they offer the court regarding your child's situation?
If you decide to hire private counsel, then Robert Howell, of The Law Offices of Robert L. Howell can help. Robert can give your case and your child the time it needs to make sure your child gets the best resolution of their case that the law will allow.

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Contact Information

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Contact Information

Law Offices of Robert L. Howell
13263 Ventura Blvd #103
Studio City, CA 91604
Toll Free: 800-836-4976
Fax: 818-849-5562
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