Custody Evaluation Hearing


I get asked this question at least 5 times a day.  And it is an important question.  It may well decide what happens, and what eventually happens to you and your children.  Having said that, 99% of the time I recommend that parents NOT talk to social workers.  And this advice is not the norm.  Many inexperienced juvenile dependency lawyers, routinely tell parents to talk to the social worker, “See if you can work it out.”  Many experienced lawyers favor parents talking to social workers to resolve the issues that arise in the juvenile dependency court process.

However, I play the odds.  I always tell my client NOT to talk to the social worker, unless I’m present.  Here’s why.  First, my experience has shown me that many times clients make the mistake of giving information that hurts their case.  I met with a client just last night who informed me that he admitted to using drugs, specifically meth, recreationally.  This admission was before he retained me.  Now, because of that admission, his children are placed in a foster home.  Had he not made that admission, the social worker had no evidence that he was a recreational drug user.  I would have counseled him to go into drug rehab, while his children were in his custody.

Second, when I say play the odds this is what I mean.  If you talk to a social worker, especially without an attorney, there is a significant chance that you will say or do something that is against your interests.  If you don’t talk to the social worker it is likely that the worker will inform the judge that you are not cooperating with the investigation.  Now on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst case scenario, talking to a social worker is a 10; not talking to a social worker is about a 5.   So, you decide which is best.  I’ll go with the 5 every time.

Recently, I was sitting in a judge’s chambers and the social worker’s attorney informed the judge that I advised my client not to talk to the social worker, unless I was present.  The judge became annoyed and accused me of “game playing.”   I professionally defended my actions, reminded the judge about what I believed the law required and didn’t require.  Even with that “hit” my client eventually got her children back.  Sometimes it takes a little uncomfortable attorney courage to protect your clients’ rights.

I have had a number of clients that have been under investigation before  the social worker filed a juvenile court case.  And I’ve stopped or stalled those investigations before a juvenile case could be filed; or in the alternative, I’ve limited the detrimental evidence the social worker could use against the parent during a subsequent juvenile court case.  After all, in the Superior Court of California it’s all about the EVIDENCE.  And the less evidence you give, the better off you may be.

Next, I want to mention the social workers’ TEAM DECISION MAKING meetings, otherwise known as the TDM.  A TDM is a meeting at the social worker’s office where they ask you incriminating questions about their child abuse/neglect investigation.  Most social workers take the position that your attorney can’t be present.  What does that tell you?  A governmental inquisition that doesn’t allow you to be represented by an attorney.  And on top of all of that, anything and everything that you say CAN be used against you in the juvenile dependency court.  NEVER agree to go to a TDM.

Finally, sometimes a social worker will ask you to sign an agreement to have your child placed outside your home while they perform an investigation.  My recommendation is NEVER agree to the placement of the child outside your home.  I just represented a mother and it took us 30 days to get the child back to her because she agree to an out of home placement with the great aunt.  At the end of the investigation, we made sure not court case could be filed, but the mother had to spend 30 days without her 2 year old child.  This was result was mainly caused by the mother signing an agreement for out of home placement before she hired our firm.

Vincent W. Davis
Law Offices Of Vincent W Davis And Associates
Juvenile Dependency Lawyer

Comments are closed.

Contact The Law Office Of Vincent W. Davis


Experienced Law Firm

Office Locations Where Can We Meet You?

Arcadia Office
150 N. Santa Anita Ave,
Suite 200
Arcadia, CA 91006
Phone: (626) 446-6442 Fax: (626)-446-6454
Get Directions
Beverly Hills Office
*Virtual Office
9465 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 300
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Phone: (310)-880-5733 Get Directions
La Mirada Office
*Virtual Office
Cerritos Towne Center
17777 Center Court Drive ,
Suite 600
Cerritos, California, 90703
Phone: 888-888-6542 Get Directions
Los Angeles Office
*Virtual Office
Gas Comdivany Tower
555 West Fifth Street,
31st Floor
Los Angeles, California, 90013
Phone: (213)-400-4132 Get Directions
Long Beach Office
*Virtual Office
Landmark Square
111 West Ocean Blvd.,
Suite 400
Long beach, California, 90802
Get Directions
Irvine Office
*Virtual Office
Oracle Tower
17901 Von Karman Avenue,
Suite 600
Irvine, California, 92614
Phone: (949)-203-3971 Fax: (949)-203-3972 Get Directions
Ontario Office
*Virtual Office
Lakeshore Center
3281 E. Guasti Road,
7th Floor
City of Ontario, California, 91761
Phone: (909)-996-5644 Get Directions
Riverside Office
*Virtual Office
Turner Riverwalk
11801 divierce Street,
Suite 200
Riverside, California, 92505
Phone: (909)-996-5644 Get Directions
San Diego
*Virtual Office
Emerald divlaza
402 West Broadway,
Suite #400
San Diego, California, 92101
Phone: (619)-885-2070 Get Directions
Aliso Viejo
*Virtual Office
Ladera Cordivorate Terrace
999 Cordivorate Drive,
Suite 100
Ladera Ranch, California, 92694
Phone: (714) 721-3822 Get Directions