Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury Releases Report on Juvenile Court Hearings
This is a press release from the Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury:
Do You Know What I Know? Juvenile Court Hearings
Numerous children in Humboldt County benefit from the vital services provided by foster parents in what is termed a Resource Family Home. They provide the child with shelter, food, clothing, schooling and love, while focused upon a goal of reunification with the child’s biological parent(s). Because foster parents have daily contact with their foster child and provide for the child’s needs, often successful reunification relates directly to the foster parents’ involvement.
In response to a number of complaints from grandparents, friends, and foster parents, the Grand Jury investigated the ability of childcare providers to offer input to Juvenile Court at the 6-Month Review Hearing and the 12/18-Month Permanency Hearings. We focused upon the procedures and instructions Child Welfare Services (CWS) has in place to inform foster parents of and assist them with these hearings.
In the course of the investigation, the Grand Jury found CWS employees to be dedicated, knowledgeable, committed, and overworked. We also determined the Humboldt County Juvenile Court has procedures in place which allow all relevant parties to contribute information regarding a child’s status. However, we believe there are opportunities to improve the court hearing process through more thorough and consistent foster parent training, and better communication between CWS and foster parents.
The Grand Jury offers a number of recommendations which we believe will help facilitate these outcomes and, ultimately, contribute to the overall health and well-being of foster children.