Dependency and Neglect/Special Respondents

A dependency and neglect (D&N) case is a civil action brought by a county department of human/social services (Department) and concerns whether a child is abused or neglected.

A child is considered to be dependent or neglected when any of the following allegations can be found by the judge, magistrate or a jury to be true.

  • A parent or guardian abandons, mistreats, or abuses the child;
  • A parent or guardian allows another person to mistreat or abuse the child or does not take steps to stop the abuse or prevent it from happening again;
  • The child lacks proper care through the actions or inactions of the parent or guardian;
  • The child’s environment is unsafe;
  • A parent or guardian does not provide the child with necessary education, medical care, subsistence, or other care necessary for the child’s health, guidance, or well-being;
  • The child is homeless or without care through no fault of the parent or guardian;
  • The child has run away from home or is beyond the control of the parent or guardian;
  • The child tests positive at birth for a controlled substance;
  • A parent or guardian has subjected another child to a pattern of habitual abuse;
  • In a previous case, the child of the parent or guardian was determined to be dependent or neglected based on allegations of sexual or physical abuse; or
  • In a previous case, the parent or guardian’s abuse or neglect caused the death of a child.

Jennifer represents Special Respondents in Dependency and Neglect (D&N) cases.  A “Special Respondent” is a non-parent with whom the child or children have a significant relationship. For example, a Special Respondent may be aunt, uncle, grandparent, close family friend, or a foster parent.

If you are a parent facing allegations of dependency and neglect, Jennifer would be happy to provide you with referrals to attorneys who handle representation for parents who have been named as Respondents in a D&N case.  We bring compassion and experience to issues of allegations of neglect and abuse.