Assisting Individuals In Little Rock With Child Neglect Proceedings

Understanding An Arkansas Dependency And Neglect Proceeding

Arkansas dependency and neglect proceedings can be very challenging and contentious matters. The following is a brief overview of a normal dependency and neglect proceeding:

  1. A report is received by the Child Abuse Hotline and investigated.
  2. If the child cannot be safely left in the home, he or she can be detained, or taken into temporary custody by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and placed in a foster home. In some cases, the children can be placed in the care of relatives.
  3. If the child must be placed in foster care, DHS will obtain an Ex Parte Emergency Order for Custody.
  4. A probable cause hearing must be held within five business days. At that hearing, the only issues are did DHS have probable cause to detain the child and can the child be safely returned?
  5. An adjudication hearing is then held within 30 days. This is a trial. At this hearing, the court will either find the child was dependent, neglected or abused, or that it was not. If the court finds that the allegations were not true, the children will be returned at this point. If the allegations are found to be true and the problem is not resolved, then the children will continue to be in foster care. Even if the court finds the allegations were true and the problems have been resolved, the children might be returned at this point. The court will order the department to provide services to the parent(s) that are designed to assist them in remedying the problems and will order the parent(s) to complete certain tasks or programs toward that end, possibly including drug testing, parenting classes, therapy or a psychological evaluation.
  6. A Dispositional Hearing can be held after or at the same time as the Adjudication Hearing. This hearing determines what will happen during the next six months, including expectations of the parents, who will care for the children and any other considerations pertinent to the case.
  7. A six-month review hearing follows to see if the problems that caused the children to be removed have been remedied and if they can be returned to the home.
  8. By one year, if the problems are not resolved, the court will set a Permanency Planning Hearing to determine the permanent plan for the children's care.
  9. At the Permanency Planning Hearing, a permanency plan is ordered by the court. If the court decides that it is in the child's best interests to be adopted, then a hearing for the termination of parental rights is set.
  10. At a Termination Hearing, the issue is termination of parental rights of a parent who has not shown that he or she is able to provide adequate care for the child. If the parental rights are terminated, the parental relationship is ended, and the parent and child are either no longer related, meaning parents' relatives are also no longer related to the child.
  11. There will continue to be post-termination review hearings until the child is adopted but the former parent is not allowed to participate or attend those hearing since they are no longer related to the child.

This is a very unique and complex area of law, and few Arkansas lawyers are prepared to handle these cases.

Why You Should Choose Our Firm

Attorneys at the Law Office of Vickie Lynn Cochran have extensive experience representing individuals throughout Little Rock with dependency and neglect proceedings.

If you are a family member considering seeking custody of a child, as your lawyer we will represent you at every stage of this process, constantly working to obtain a favorable outcome for you. If you are not the custodial parent, there are specific procedures that must be followed by anyone other than the noncustodial parent who is seeking custody of a child.

Whether you are the parent of the child or a family member, we take the time to listen to your concerns and reasons for wanting custody. We will be there with you through the entire process, helping you obtain — or keep — custody of the child.

Contact our office today at 501-313-1813, toll free at 800-323-8884 to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns pertaining to the custody of a child. You can also send us an email.

Flexible appointments available. Credit cards accepted.