the initial hearing that is held within seventy-two hours of the child’s
removal,49 the grandmother may receive notice that her grandchild
was taken into protective custody by child protective services, and
notice that a written statement is available to explain the “parent’s or
guardian’s procedural rights and the preliminary stages of the
dependency proceedings.”50 The grandmother, however, would not
have standing to answer the petition in court even though this is the
hearing where the court decides whether continued placement of the
child in foster care is necessary.51
The next hearing is the jurisdictional hearing, which should
occur within fifteen court days of the initial hearing if the child is
removed,52 but due to court congestion, often occurs two or three
months later. During the jurisdictional hearing, the court determines
the veracity of the petition.53 While the referral regarding the abuse
was investigated and substantiated by child protective services, it is
not until the jurisdictional hearing that the court decides whether, in
fact, that abuse occurred. Again, the child’s grandmother has no right
to notice54 or standing55 at this hearing. This would also be true for
child from the home and the maternal grandmother was named in the petition,
which alleged that she placed the child at risk).
49 The initial hearing is often referred to as the “detention hearing” because the
court decides whether it is still necessary to detain the child. The hearing must be
held within 72 hours of the child’s removal from the home and it is at this hearing
that parents and legal guardians are informed of the allegations in the petition. See
CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE §§ 315, 316, 317, 319 (West 2013).
50 See CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE § 307.4 (West 2013).
51 CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE § 300 (West 2013) (defining ‘Guardian’ as legal
guardian of the child); CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE § 316 (West 2013).
52 See CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE §§ 355, 355.1, 356 (West 2013).
53 CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE §§ 355, 355.1, 356.
54 See CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE § 290.1(a)(6) (West 2013) (stating that notice is
required solely to parents and then to relatives only if no parent is found) (“If there
is no parent or guardian residing in California, or if the residence is unknown, then
[notice is required] to any adult relative residing within the county or if none, the
adult relative residing nearest the court.”); see also CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE §§
290.2(a)(6), 309(e)(1) (West 2013) (stating that following the initial removal of the
child the social worker is to conduct an investigation to identify and locate
grandparents, adult siblings, and other relatives and this investigation is to be