Reinstatement of Parental Rights
0300-503.27 | Revision Date: 7/1/2014


This policy guide provides information and instruction on how terminated parental rights may be reinstated.

Table of Contents

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 06/28/10 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan.


Reinstatement of Parental Rights

Only a child or a child's attorney may file a WIC 388 petition with the Juvenile Court to reinstate parental rights under either of the following two (2) situations:

  1. If parental rights have been terminated three (3) or more years ago, and
    • The child has not been adopted, and
    • The Juvenile Court has determined that adoption is no longer the permanent plan or that the child is no longer likely to be adopted, and
    • The child or the child’s attorney is asking for a reinstatement of parent rights.
  2. If DCFS and the child agree that the child is no longer likely to be adopted, parental rights have been terminated for less than three (3) years, and
    • The child has not been adopted, and
    • DCFS is willing to agree to the reinstatement of parental rights.

A child over the age of twelve (12) will sign the WIC 388 petition unless there is good cause as to why he/she should not.

If it is in the best interests of the child to reinstate parental rights, the court will set a hearing date. The following are examples of situations where it may be appropriate for parental rights to be reinstated:

  • The child is currently residing with the birthparent(s) under a permanent plan (i.e. legal guardianship, permanent planned living arrangement).
  • The birthparent(s) is currently receiving family reunification services for the child’s sibling(s), and the birthparent(s) is in compliance with the DCFS Case Plan.
  • The birthparent(s) has successfully reunified with the child’s sibling(s) who were court dependent after the child was detained.

Responding to a Filed WIC 388 Petition to Reinstate Parental Rights

Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the minute order regarding the WIC 388 petition, and follow the court orders.
  2. Thoroughly assess the case as follows:
    1. Conduct a full review of the online case record, the hard-copy case file, and any supporting documents contained in the hard-copy case file.
    2. Interview the child about reinstating parental rights.
    3. Conduct face-to-face interviews with the birthparent(s).
    4. Contact all necessary collateral contacts to verify progress made towards alleviating the problems and circumstances that led to the original allegations, removal, and/or termination of parental rights.
      • Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook.
    5. Complete an SDM Risk Reassessment, Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment Tool, and an SDM Reunification Reassessment.
    6. Search CWS/CMS for prior DCFS involvement for birthparent(s), including child welfare history as a child, and for all other adults in the home.
      1. Remember to search using all married names, maiden names, and other aliases.
      2. If a prior criminal history or other record indicates the use of more than one (1) possible birth date, search using all possible dates.
    7. Initiate the Live-Scan process within five (5) judicial days by directing the birthparent(s) and other adults living in the home to the appropriate Live-Scan location.
      • The birthparents must either schedule an appointment or go to the Live-Scan facility on a walk-in basis.
    8. If applicable, contact the CSWs of the birth parent(s)/biological siblings to discuss progress of all Case Plan participants and their compliance with the Case Plan.
    9. Assess the birthparent’s current situation, including his/her housing situation, employment, finances, support system, ability to protect the child, and ability to make sound judgments.
    10. Initiate a Child and Family Team meeting.
  3. If there is doubt after completing the assessment as to the appropriate recommendation, consult with the SCSW and the County Counsel to determine if DCFS should oppose the request to reinstate parental rights.
    • If it is determined that DCFS will oppose the request, consult with County Counsel as to what, if any, report must be prepared for the hearing and whether or not it will be necessary to appear at the hearing.
    • If it is determined that DCFS will not oppose the request, the County Counsel will notify the court of that decision.
      • The decision to reinstate parental rights will be made in consultation with, and with the approval of, the SCSW, the ARA, and the County Counsel.
  4. Upon notification of the set hearing date, begin the noticing process.
  5. Send notices to the birthparent(s):
    1. Notify the child’s parent(s) whose parental rights were terminated at the WIC 366.26 hearing of the set hearing.
    2. Follow court orders regarding birthparent(s) and any other parties that should receive notice of the hearing.
      • Generally, notice requirements will be the same as required for a WIC 366.26 hearing where the recommendation is termination of parental rights.
      • Required methods of notice include personal service, certified mail, return receipt requested, due diligence, electronic notice and/or publication.
    3. In most cases, generate the JV 280 Notice of Review Hearing in Simple Notice Application (SNAP).
    4. If the court hearing is scheduled in less time than needed for proper notice requirements, submit a request to continue the hearing.
      1. Consult with the County Counsel, regarding the provision of as much notice as possible.

Completing the Interim Review Report in Response to the Filed WIC 388 Petition

Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

  1. Prior to creating the Interim Review Report, review the online case record to ensure that all identifying information is recorded and current.
    • If necessary, update the case record to ensure that the fields populated by the database are accurate.
  2. Create the Interim Review Report at least forty-five (45) calendar days prior to the hearing, unless instructed to do so earlier by a court order, according to recommended guidelines.
  3. Request and print the online approval from the Interim Review Report.
  4. Sign and date the hard copy.
  5. Submit the hard copy of the court report and all supporting documents to the SCSW for approval.
  6. If the Interim Review Report was not approved, take necessary corrective action.
  7. When the report is approved by the SCSW and the ARA, route the Interim Review Report and all supporting attachments to support staff for final preparation and delivery to the court.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the Interim Review Report and all supporting documents, including all SDM tools.
  2. If you approve it, sign and date the Report. Send the Report along with all supporting documents to the ARA without approving it online.
    1. If approved by the ARA, approve the Report online and return it and all supporting documents to the CSW.
    2. If the Report was not approved by the ARA, take necessary corrective action, or, if necessary, return the Report and the supporting documents to the CSW for corrective action.
  3. If you do not approve it, request corrective action, and return the Report and all supporting documents to the CSW.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. Review the Interim Review Report and any supporting documents, including all SDM tools used.
  2. If approved, sign and date the Report and return to the SCSW for online approval.
  3. If not approved, return the Report and all support documents to the SCSW for corrective action.

Responding When Parental Rights have been Reinstated

Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

  1. If the Juvenile Court reinstates a birthparent's parental rights to a child, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) must be notified.
    1. Request the court’s minute order reinstating parent rights.
    2. Generate a letter notifying the State of the reinstatement of parental rights using the Notification Reinstatement of Parental Rights for Child.
    3. Photocopy the AD 4333, Acknowledgment that the Child is Legally Freed.
    4. Send the notifying letter, the court minute order, and a photocopy of the AD 4333 to the Adoptions Filing Clerk, who will forward them to CDSS.
  2. Create a new Case Plan Update.

SCSW, ARA, and County Counsel

  • Decision to agree to/oppose a hearing for reinstatement of parental rights

SCSW and ARA Approval

  • Interim Review Report


Criteria for Completing the Interim Review Report Regarding Petitions for the Reinstatement of Parental Rights

Notification Reinstatement of Parental Rights for Child


CWS/CMS/Simple Notice Application (SNAP)

JV 180, WIC 388 Petition Allegations

JV 280, Notice of Review Hearing, Juvenile

JV 510, Proof of Service - Juvenile

Notice of Hearing on Petition (revised version under Case Management Section)

Hard Copy

AD 4333, Acknowledgement and Confirmation of Receipt of TT – Relinquishment Documents

DCFS 4380, Declaration of Service or Inability to Ascertain Address Letter to CDSS


0070-548.01, Child and Family Teams

0070-559.10, Clearances

0300-306.05, Noticing Process for Juvenile Court Proceedings


Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 349 – States conditions for continuing a hearing if a minor/youth wishes to be present and was not given an opportunity to be present at a court hearing.

WIC Section 366.26(i)(3) – States the criteria and the process that must be adhered to for parental rights to be reinstated.

WIC Section 388(a) – States the criteria under which a petition may be made to the court to remove a termination of parental rights.

WIC Section 388(d) – States, in part, that if it appears that the best interests of a child/nonminor dependent may be promoted by the proposed change of order, recognition of a sibling relationship, or termination of jurisdiction, the court shall order a hearing be held. Also states that the court shall give prior notice, or ensure that prior notice is given, to the persons listed in WIC Section 386.