Children Testifying in Courts Other Than Dependency Court Hearings
0300-505.05 | Revision Date: 7/1/2014


This policy guide reviews CSW responsibilities when a child has been summoned by the Court or subpoenaed to appear and testify in courts other than the child’s own dependency action, e.g., hearings in civil court, criminal court, or other juvenile courts. 

Table of Contents

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 03/12/09 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan.


Notification Requirements

CSWs must notify County Counsel and the child’s attorney upon notification that a child must testify in another court.


Child Testifying at a Non-Dependency Court Hearing

CSW Responsibilities

  1. When a court order or subpoena indicating that a child’s appearance is required at a court hearing other than the child’s own dependency court hearing is received, contact the court in question before the end of the following business day and verify that the information received was accurate.
  2. Contact County Counsel and provide them with all pertinent information regarding this matter.
  3. Notify the child's attorney that DCFS is in receipt of the court order or subpoena and that DCFS intends on complying with the court order or subpoena. Provide the attorney with all pertinent information regarding this matter. 
    • CSW’s should not engage in contact with any other attorneys (except the District Attorney) before receiving approval from County Counsel.
  4. Notify the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and caregiver regarding the court hearing. Provide them with all pertinent information regarding this matter.
  5. Inform the child that they will/may have to testify in court and advise them to contact their attorney regarding any specific legal questions regarding their upcoming court testimony.
    • CSWs must not discuss the child's upcoming court testimony with the child.
  6. Document all contacts and other actions in the Contact Notebook including the following pertinent information:
    1. Name of the court
    2. Department number
    3. Case number
    4. Purpose of the hearing
    5. Date of the hearing
    6. Date the information was received
    7. Name and Title of the person requesting the child's appearance (e.g., District Attorney, law enforcement)
  7. If possible, accompany the child to the hearing.  Ensure that a CSW, the parent or legal guardian will accompany the child to, and during the hearing and document this information in the Contact Notebook.
  8. Ensure that the child is transported to the court hearing and returned to placement.
  9. Within one business day of obtaining the results of the hearing, provide an update regarding the child’s appearance at court and the results of the hearing to the child's attorney, County Counsel, the parent(s) or legal guardians, and caregiver(s) via telephone, e-mail or in person.
  10. Document pertinent information regarding the child’s appearance at court in the Contact Notebook.

0300-506.05, Communication with Attorneys, County Counsel, and Non-DCFS Staff