Juvenile Court is an interdisciplinary court of family law and criminal defense with a soupcon of social work. Juvenile Court has it’s own laws in the Children’s Code. The Children’s Code has some elements of the Criminal Code and some elements of family law from the Civil Code but is not truly either In some parishes there is a dedicated Juvenile Court judge(s): 2 judges in East Baton Rouge, 3 in Jefferson, 6 in New Orleans, 1 shared by Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes. In other parishes, the juvenile docket is handled by District Court judges of general jurisdiction or dedicated Family Court judge(s): Ascension, E. Feliciana, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Washington, W. Feliciana.
The cases heard by Juvenile Court judges are the following:
- Child in Need of Care (neglect or abuse) – CINC
- Family in Need of Services – FINS
- Juvenile Crime (if the District Attorney billed the defendant as a minor)
- Termination of Parental Rights
The Department of Child and Family Services – DCFS is involved in all CINC and FINS cases. Initially they serve as investigators who will report anything they perceive as endangering a child to law enforcement. Clients often open up to DCFS workers, believing that they are merely social workers there to “help”. Clients don’t realize that their statements to DCFS workers will be used against them in termination of parental rights proceedings and criminal prosecutions. DCFS workers are not required to read Miranda rights to the people they interview. Parents should not give a statement until they have hired an attorney. Non-parent caretakers (grandparents, aunts, uncles, foster parents) in a Juvenile Court case can only hire private attorneys.
Adoption proceedings include:
- Step-parent adoptions
- Family adoptions by grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.
- Private adoptions
- Interstate adoptions
- Agency adoptions
Adoptions can be closed or open, anonymous or between family members. A home study and DCFS background check may be required. A criminal background check, attorneys for surrendering parents and a criminal background check will be required.
The office of Ellen Cronin Badeaux, LLC, has 23 years of experience representing clients in Juvenile Court. We put forth an integrated defense considering the criminal, family court, juvenile court, social, professional, financial and long range consequences. We have referrals available for mental health experts, prosecutors, private investigators and polygraph experts. Let us put our experience and resources to work for you, your family and your future.
Call the lawyers at Ellen Cronin Badeaux, LLC, at 985-892-1955.