Birth Parent / Court Ordered Services

You have been to Juvenile Dependency Court and have been ordered to participate in services. Below are the types of Court ordered services Child Welfare provides:

Emergency Response (ER)

Emergency Response provides 24-hour daily response to allegations of child abuse and neglect. Community members reporting abuse call our ER Hotline where a social worker assesses each report. A referral may be investigated as an immediate or 10-day response or it can be evaluated out. The child can be removed from the home while the investigation (DI investigation) occurs.

Child Welfare services is directed by Welfare & Institution Code - WIC 300 code.

Reasons for removal:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Severe neglect, including severe malnutrition, acute untreated medical condition, general neglect, including unsanitary, unsafe or inadequate housing, no food or clothing, or being left alone or without supervision
  • Not having a parent or guardian, meaning a parent who cannot provide adequate care due to mental illness or substance abuse, a parent who is overwhelmed, or abandonment
  • Emotional abuse including impact of witnessing domestic violence

Information about Mandated Reporting

Dependency Investigations (DI)

Napa County’s DI program conducts the investigation to assess whether child abuse occurred. If it is found that abuse occurred, the social worker will be working with the parent to create a case plan with services that will mitigate the issues that led to the abuse. This is the court hearing where the child will become a dependent of Napa County. This hearing will lead to the parent receiving Family Maintenance services (child remaining in the home), Family Reunification Services (child being placed in to foster care), the allegation being dismissed or a parent not being offered services (bypass.)

Family Reunification Services (FR)

Family Reunification (FR) provides time-limited services to remedy neglect, abuse, or exploitation, when the child cannot safely remain at home and needs temporary foster care while services are provided to the family. When a child is placed in out-of-home placement, the first goal is to reunite the child with their family as soon as possible. Child Welfare Services implement strategies that build on families’ strengths and address concerns. Such strategies may include trauma-informed, family engagement, establishing and/or maintaining family and cultural connections, connecting families to services, regular and frequent visits with family members, and parent education.

Returning children home often requires intensive, family-centered services to support a safe and stable family. Services are tailored to each family’s circumstances and must address the issue(s) that brought the child and family to the attention of Child Welfare Services.

Family Maintenance Services (FM)

Family Maintenance (FM) provides time-limited supportive and protective services to families in crisis, designed to prevent or remedy abuse or neglect. This allows Social Workers to work with the family while keeping the child in the home. Services can include counseling, substance abuse treatment, domestic violence intervention, victim services, and parenting education. Family Maintenance can be court ordered or a voluntary agreement between the family and the Department that address specific behavioral issues and achieve family stabilization related goals. 

If the family’s conditions do not improve or worsen and the child’s safety and well-being is at risk, the Social Services Department may petition the Juvenile Court to place the child/youth in out-of-home care.

If you do not reunify with your child, the following could happen:

Concurrent Planning 

Child Welfare Services practices concurrent planning. This is in accordance with law, which states that children need to achieve permanency (return home, be adopted or have a legal guardian) as soon as possible and in the best interest of the child.

What does this mean? Child Welfare Services PLAN A is for you to reunify with your child. We hope to have children stay at home with their parents. We want parents to engage in services and supports to make behavioral changes that will keep your child safe. If this does not happen within the court timelines, then we have a PLAN B. PLAN A and B are concurrently happening, as this is in the best interest of the child to not be in foster care/out of home placement.


The Napa County Adoption Program, under Child Welfare Services (CWS), works to develop alternate plans for a permanent, loving family if children cannot reunify with their parents. Children who enter in to a concurrent plan of adoption are typically placed in the home of the Resource Family while the parents are working on reunification. Upon reunification not occurring, the Resource Family has developed a relationship with the child, wants to adopt and our adoptions social workers work with the family to adopt the child. 

Information about the differences between guardianship and adoption (PDF)


Guardianship is another form of permanency. A guardian does not receive any parental rights and is simply appointed to care for the child. When guardianship of a child is established, the child’s parents maintain their parental rights. 

Information about the differences between guardianship and adoption (PDF)

Resources for Birth Parents / Court-Ordered Services