Transportation Requests to Bring Children/ Youth/Nonminor Dependents to Court
0300-306.80 | Revision Date: 7/1/2014


This policy guide reviews the procedures for the transportation of children, youth, and nonminor dependents to Juvenile Court for dependency hearings.

Table of Contents

Version Summary

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


Children Authorized to Receive Court Transportation

All children who want to attend their juvenile court hearings must be given the opportunity and means to attend.

A child’s placement status determines whether the Court Transportation Unit is authorized to transport the child as follows:

Children in Placements Authorized for Court Transportation

Children in Placements Not Authorized for Court Transportation

Placements listed below in Los Angeles County only:

  • Licensed nonrelated foster homes
  • Group homes
  • Institutions
  • Select psychiatric hospitals (only if accompanied by hospital staff)
  • Foster Family Agency homes
  • Transitional Housing Placement Program (THPP) placements
  • Transitional Housing Placement-Nonminor Dependent (THP-NMD) [formerly known as Transitional Housing Placement Plus Foster Care (THP+FC)] placements
  • Approved Supervised Independent Living Placements (SILP)
  • To new placements, if the child is detained in court, court orders   transportation, and transportation is approved by the Court Transportation Unit Supervising Transportation Worker.
  • Home of parents
  • Relatives*
  • Nonrelated extended family members (NREFM)*
  • Children residing with a legal guardian
  • NMDs participating in EFC and placed with relative, NREFM or residing with a legal guardian
  • Children attending court for the sole purpose of DNA testing or other court located services
  • Placement outside of Los Angeles County

* If unavailable to transport, the CSW must make the arrangements for the child to be present in court

Responsibility for Ordering Court Transportation

For initial petitions:

  • The IDC CSW, (323) 881-1303 is responsible for arranging transportation for the children/youth, including a minor parent or a Re-Entry NMD parenting youth placed in a licensed foster care or shelter care facility, and when applicable, the minor parent’s/Re-Entry NMD youth’s own child, if age 4 or older when included in the petition.

For all other hearings:

  • The CSW responsible for writing the court report is responsible for ordering court transportation for that hearing.

Nonminor Dependents (NMDs)

Children, age 4 and older, including nonminor dependents (NMDs) participating in Extended Foster Care (EFC) who are the subject of a dependency hearing must be present at all appearance hearings with the following exceptions:

  • The juvenile court has found that a waiver of appearance is in the child’s best interest.
  • It involves an uncontested matter (post disposition) and the child does not wish to appear (such as a six month status review hearing), unless the child is ordered by the court to appear.
  • Special circumstances exist, i.e. the child has a contagious medical condition, such as chicken pox, tuberculosis, etc.

Children placed in Riverside County, San Bernardino County, or Orange County

The DCFS Pomona Office will facilitate transportation pick-ups and drop-offs from the DCFS Pomona Office to the court for placements in connecting counties, including Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange counties. This is a courtesy arrangement and may not be available on certain days. When this service is not available, the CSW is responsible for arranging the child’s transportation. The CSW is responsible for arranging transportation for children living outside Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, or Orange County.

Returning the Child/Youth/Dependent/NMD to Placement

The DCFS Court Officer and/or the Court Transportation Unit Worker will notify the CSW when the child cannot be returned to their placement.

The Court Transportation Unit is not permitted to return children to their school, place of employment, or the foster care provider’s place of employment. There must be an adult 18 years of age or older to receive the child at the drop-off location, with the exception of NMDs.

Transportation Not Provided by the Court Transportation Unit

CSWs are not to have caregivers, other DCFS staff, or Foster Family Agencies (FFAs) transport children/youth to court, in lieu of transportation provided by the Court Transportation Unit, without SCSW approval.

Shelter Care Services

The Court Transportation Unit has professionally trained staff to supervise the children in Court Shelter Care’s structured children’s activities until the court hearing is completed and the child is returned to his or her placement.


On-line Automated Shelter Care/Transportation Request

CSW Responsibilities

Submit a Shelter Care/Transportation request using the on-line system as follows:

  1. Complete the DCFS 4360, on-line automated Shelter Care/Transportation System, which can be accessed on the right side of the LA Kids page under “DCFS Systems.” Click on the heading “Transportation SC.”
    • Ensure that the on-line automated DCFS 4360 is completed before 4:00 P.M. the day before the scheduled court hearing or it will not be accepted.
  2. Check to ensure that the placement name, address and all caregiver contact information is correct prior to submission of the request.
  3. If more than one child has the same residence, surname and court information, an individual request must be submitted for each child or NMD requiring transportation. Include the names of additional children in the Comments/Notes section for informational/special instructions if necessary.
  4. If two siblings who may not have contact with each other are due in court on the same matter, indicate in the “Special Instructions” section of the DCFS 4360 so that necessary arrangements can be made.
  5. Upon completion, print the completed online transportation request form as confirmation for the case record. Before printing, ensure that the words: “Your request has been saved”, appears in red on the form.

Court Transportation Unit Responsibilities

The Court Transportation Unit will contact the CSW only when the requests cannot be approved or when other information is required. Unless you have questions, or changes to your request are needed, there is no need to call the Court Transportation Unit.

Shelter Care Only Services

CSW Responsibilities

  1. A request for Shelter Care Only, services must be submitted 3 days in advance and no later than 4:00 P.M. the day before the scheduled hearing for approval via the on-line automated DCFS 4360.

Upon Completion of the On-line Automated Shelter Care / Transportation Request

CSW Responsibilities

  1. If applicable, make arrangements to transport the child’s luggage or possessions to court, should the child be released from court to a parent or other party.
  2. If the Court Transportation Unit cannot transport the child to court, transport the child to court and remain with the child until the hearing is complete.
  3. Notify the caregiver and nonminor dependent (NMD) whenever there is a hearing and inform them that the Court Transportation Unit will pick the child up between 7:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. In addition, inform the caregiver:
    1. Not to send the child to school the day of the hearing.
    2. To dress the child appropriately for conducting court business. See “Juvenile Court Shelter Care Child/Youth Dress, Attire and Prohibited Items.” Weather conditions should be taken into consideration.
    3. That they or another authorized adult must be present at the time of pick-up and drop-off.
    4. That they must be available/reachable by telephone throughout the day because the time of pick-up/drop off may vary and. A specific time for pick-up/drop off cannot be arranged at the time of the court hearing and must be done prior to the day of the hearing.
    5. That it is recommended that the child bring homework/schoolwork with them to court.
  4. When age or developmentally appropriate, advise the child or NMD of the hearing and court process prior to the hearing.

Children/Youth Not Returned to Placement

CSW Responsibilities

  1. If the child is detained at court, locate a placement and transport the child to the new placement.
  2. If a new placement is not located, call the Court Transportation Unit to transport the child to the regional office until placement of the child can occur.

Nonminor Dependents (NMDs)

CSW Responsibilities

  1. If a dependent or NMD parenting youth and their nondependent infant/child’s appearance are required at court, make alternate transportation arrangements.
  2. If the nondependent infant/child is not ordered to appear, instruct the foster caregiver to assist the dependent or NMD parenting youth in making day care arrangements for the infant/child prior to the date of the hearing, to accommodate the dependent or NMD parenting youth’s appearance in court.
  3. For a NMD parenting youth whose placement is a SILP, assist the NMD parenting youth in making day care arrangements for the infant/child prior to the date of the hearing.
  4. When ordering court transportation for a dependent or NMD parenting youth and their child(ren), who are both dependents of the court, complete a separate DCFS 4360 for the dependent or NMD parenting youth and the 4 years or older child.
    • If the dependent or NMD parenting youth child is under 4 years of age, and will not be attending court, indicate the child’s name on the dependent or NMD parenting youth Transportation Request, as this information is used to determine court calendar information.

Youth in Probation Custody

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Contact the Probation Department’s Transportation Dispatcher, (323) 226-2323 to schedule the transportation no later than 24 hours prior to the hearing. Follow the procedures for Removal Orders.
  2. Document all contacts and transactions (e.g., faxes, etc.) in the Contact Notebook in CWS/CMS.

Children with Medical Conditions, Prescribed Medications, Allergies, Dietary Needs and Other Special Equipment

CSW Responsibilities

Refer to the On-line automated Shelter Care/Transportation request for general instructions. In addition:

  1. If a child is seriously behaviorally or medically handicapped, the child’s attorney should be contacted to determine if the child’s appearance can be waived or what accommodations can be made to facilitate the child’s presence and/or participation.
  2. If the child is non-ambulatory, call the Court Transportation Unit Supervising Transportation Worker, (323) 526-6771 as soon as possible, but no later than the day before the hearing and order a specially equipped vehicle for the non-ambulatory child.
  3. Indicate the child’s special needs under the “Special Instructions” section at the bottom of the DCFS Request for Juvenile Court Transportation and Shelter Care Services.
  4. Remind the Caregiver to send the appropriate dosage of medication and/or medical equipment to court.
  5. In cases of special needs children, such as children requiring insulin or an asthma inhaler, stress to the caregiver the extreme importance of paying attention to these matters to avoid a potential emergency or possible death.
  6. Document all contacts and notes of special instructions in the Contact Notebook in CWS/CMS.

Children placed in Riverside County, San Bernardino County, or Orange County

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Arrange for the child to be transported from the placement to the DCFS Pomona Office located at 801 Corporate Center Drive, Pomona, CA 91768.
    1. Ensure that a caregiver and/or DCFS personnel accompany the child at all times.
    2. The child should be transferred to the custody of the designated DCFS contacts in the DCFS Pomona Office who will be available to greet the child in the office lobby.
    3. Court Transportation Unit Workers are not permitted to meet the child, caregiver and/or DCFS personnel in the Pomona Parking Lot.
  2. Confirm arrangements with a designated worker in the DCFS Pomona Office by calling (909) 802-1444. Provide the following information:
    1. The child’s name.
    2. The court date.
    3. The name and contact information of the person transporting the child to the DCFS Pomona Office, i.e. caregiver, FFA worker, CSW.
  3. Submit an On-line automated Shelter Care/Transportation request. Include the DCFS Pomona Office as the pick-up address and the designated DCFS contact as the contact person.
  4. If the DCFS Pomona Office is unable to assist in facilitating transportation, the CSW is responsible for making alternate arrangements and ensuring that the child is transported to court and back to the placement.

SCSW Approval

  • Transportation of children/youth to court by caregivers, other DCFS staff, or Foster Family Agencies, in lieu of transportation provided by the Court Transportation Unit.

0300-306.45, Removal Orders


Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 349 – States that a minor who is subject of a juvenile court hearing and any person entitled to notice of the hearing under the provisions of Sections 290.1 and 290.2, is entitled to be present at the hearing.