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Dependency

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The juvenile dependency court is a court of law that focuses on the special needs of children and families. Juvenile deprivation court hears cases involving children who have allegedly been abused, neglected, or inadequately cared for. The definitions concerning dependency court can be found at O.C.G.A. §15-11-2 (22).

Unlike delinquency or status offender proceedings (where the principal focus is on the conduct of the minor), dependency court proceedings are to ensure the safety and well-being of children. The law states the juvenile court has an obligation to protect minors within its jurisdiction.

The court tries to keep children with their families and make the families stronger. However, if warranted, the court may place a child apart from the parent(s) for the sake of the child’s well-being and safety.

If the court places a minor outside the home, the court will work with the family and the child to improve home conditions so that the child can move back home. This process is called “Reunification.”

If the court places a child away from the family, the court will make sure that someone responsible has custody of the child. The court will take steps to ensure that the child gets the care and discipline they need to be safe and protected.