Dependency Division

Mission of the Child Protection Division

The Child Protection Division of the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court works with the community to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children while preserving families when it is in the child's best interest. The court upholds the dignity and due process rights of all parties involved.

Roles in a Child Protection Division Case

  • Judge: Makes decisions about the care, treatment, and guidance the child will receive.
  • Minute clerk: Records court proceedings.
  • Court reporter: Transcribes verbatim what is said in court.
  • Case manager: Oversees the case and coordinates services.

Legal Representation

  • Parents who cannot afford an attorney may be appointed one by the court, usually from the Orleans Parish Indigent Defense Program.
  • Children are represented by court-appointed private attorneys or lawyers from legal aid organizations.
  • The Bureau of General Counsel represents the Office of Community Services post-disposition and in termination of parental rights cases.
  • The District Attorney's Office represents the state from the beginning of the case through disposition.

Filing Papers and Accessing Court Files

  • Papers can be filed at the clerk's office, located at 1100-B Milton Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70122. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays, except holidays. All cases are confidential, and information cannot be provided over the phone. In-person access to court files is available at the clerk's office.

Parties in a Dependency Hearing

Parties have the right to attend court, be heard, and have legal representation. Parties can include:

  • The mother
  • The father
  • The child
  • The social worker
  • A legal guardian or caretaker for the child


  • The court determines the child's legal father through marriage, a signed acknowledgment of paternity, or a judge's ruling. If paternity is not established, the court may order a blood test or hold a paternity hearing.

Continued Custody Hearing

A CASA is appointed to be the voice of the child. The CASA will visit the child regularly and help to say what's best for the child. A CASA can go to the hearing and talk to the judge. They can also look at all the child's records as well as court files. Every CASA is recruited, screened, trained and supervised.

Adjudication Hearing

The court determines if the allegations in the petition are true through:

  • Admission by the parents or guardians.
  • Submission by the parents or guardians, stipulating that the child is in need of care.
  • A contested hearing where both sides present evidence.

Disposition Hearing

If the petition is found to be true, the court may:

  • Dismiss the case.
  • Allow the child to live with a parent under the supervision of the Office of Community Services.
  • Remove the child from the parents and not offer family reunification services. A hearing will be scheduled to determine the child's permanent placement.

Review Hearings

The court conducts review hearings to assess the child's well-being and the parents' progress with court-ordered services. At these hearings, the court may:

  • Return the child to the parents with continued supervision.
  • Continue the child's out-of-home placement and order family reunification services.
  • Schedule a permanency planning hearing if reunification is not likely.

Permanency Planning Hearing

  • The court decides if the child will be returned to the parents or if parental rights will be terminated. If reunification is not possible, the court will determine a permanent plan for the child, such as adoption, legal guardianship, or long-term placement with a relative, foster parent, or group home.

Case Resolution

A dependency case can end in several ways:

  • Dismissal of the case if the child is living with a parent and court supervision is no longer necessary.
  • Adoption of the child after parental rights have been terminated or surrendered.
  • The child reaching the age of majority.

Appeals and Writs

  • Parties who contested the petition may appeal the judge's decision by filing an appeal with the assistance of their attorney.