People Who May Be Involved in the Case

Intake Caseworker: The caseworker that completes the initial child abuse/neglect investigation and manages the case for up to thirty (30) days.  This caseworker must visit the child/youth in the kinship family foster care home or the kinship home at least twice in the first month of out-of-home care.

Ongoing Caseworker: The case is transferred to this caseworker within the first thirty (30) days of the case opening. Generally, the ongoing caseworker manages the case until the case is closed.  The caseworker must visit with the child/youth at least monthly to assure safety and well-being.  The child/youth must be visited in the kinship family foster care or kinship home at least every other month.

County Attorney: The attorney that represents the county department of human/social services in the dependency and neglect case.

Guardian ad Litem (GAL): A court appointed attorney to represent the best interest of the child or youth while the dependency and neglect case is active with the court.

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA): A volunteer that is appointed by the court to gather information in child abuse and neglect cases and advocates to the court on behalf of the needs of the child or youth. Not all counties have CASA programs.

Special Respondent: Also known as “a party to the case”. A special respondent is appointed by the court to enter the dependency and neglect action.  Special respondents must demonstrate their knowledge about the circumstances and relationship of the child/youth in the case. The court may order a treatment plan for the special respondent, including providing care for the child or youth, visitation, and other responsibilities. Special respondents receive a copy of the court report. Kinship caregivers are frequently included as special respondents and must follow court orders.

Respondent Parent(s): The parent(s) who is alleged to be responsible for child abuse or neglect, and/or who failed to protect the child/youth.

Respondent Parent’s Attorney: An attorney that represents the parent(s). The court may appoint the attorney free of charge based on the income of the parent(s) and each parent is generally appointed an attorney.  If an attorney is not appointed, the parent(s) is responsible to hire an attorney for legal representation.

Magistrate or Judge: Presides over the dependency and neglect case. The magistrate or judge presides over the case, hears the facts, and makes rulings/orders based on the law and what is in the best interest of the child or youth. Judges preside over terminations of parental rights.

The following link is for the “Answers to Your Questions About Dependency and Neglect” brochure and provides additional information regarding dependency and neglect cases.