Parents Rights at Dependency Review Hearing In California

In Ingrid E. v. Superior Court (1999) Court, , 75 Cal. App. 4th at page 758, we noted the absence of statutory authority governing the rights of parents at review hearings. Moreover, we acknowledged the importance of permitting the juvenile court to exercise the broadest possible discretion in the adjudicative process at review hearings. (Ibid.) On the other hand, we cautioned that such discretion necessarily was constrained by a recognition that a parent must have the right to present evidence and assert his or her legitimate interests in the proceeding. (Ingrid E., supra, at p. 759.) In Ingrid E. v. Superior Court, supra, 75 Cal. App. 4th at page 757, court acknowledged due process is a flexible concept, one whose application depends on the circumstances presented. We also recognized the juvenile court has the statutory duty and the power to identify the issues relevant to the particular hearing and to make necessary relevancy determinations. (Id. at p. 760.) Finally, we made clear our recognition of the pressures faced by our overworked juvenile courts. (Ibid.) Presented with the facts in Ingrid E., the court had little difficulty deciding the petitioner there tendered such a sufficient offer of proof the juvenile court erred prejudicially in refusing to conduct a contested hearing. (Ingrid E. v. Superior Court, supra, 75 Cal. App. 4th at pp. 759-760.) We reached our conclusions, in part by "balancing petitioner's interest in regaining custody of the minors against the state's desire to conclude dependency matters expeditiously and permit the juvenile court to exercise broad control over the proceedings . . . ." We concluded the petitioner had established her right to a contested hearing. (Id. at pp. 759-760.)