After years of being largely left out of proceedings that decide their fates, more children are now joining the flurry of parents, attorneys and social workers churning each weekday through the Santa Clara County Juvenile Dependency Court.Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph never allows kids into his court. My kids even had their own court-appointed lawyer Jim Ritchey, but he never told the kids what their rights are.
A February memo to social workers titled "Children Have a Right to Attend Court Hearings" - coupled with new efforts by children's lawyers - jogged the local system that decides whether to remove children from their homes following allegations of child abuse and neglect. ...
"Under no circumstances should a social worker tell a child they cannot or should not come to court," states the memo. "... if a child asks to come to court, then the child's request must be honored. One of the major complaints from former dependent children who emancipated from foster care is that they never knew they could come to court and talk to the judge."
This newspaper article is part of a continuing series on corruption in the juvenile dependency court and court-appointed lawyers. The most well-known of the court-appointed lawyers has committed suicide as a result of the articles. The remaining judges and lawyers are just as bad, and I hope public pressure causes them to clean up their acts.