Law & Mediation Office of Jessica Watson
Attorney at Law

Dependency Law

Juvenile dependency law is extremely complex and highly emotionally charged. In these cases, the state becomes involved with an often in-tact family. In many cases, state intervention is necessary to protect children who may be subject to abuse or neglected by a caretaker.

When assisting families in dependency proceedings, my principle concern is the child's best interests. Because of the unique intimacy experienced by families, these interactions often present the first and most important opportunity to create critical emotional bonds with a child. Therefore, I believe that children should remain with or be reunited with their existing family or caretaker whenever possible.

Occasionally families find themselves in very difficult circumstances, which may unfortunately lead a parent or caretaker to behave in ways that may be detrimental to the child. In these kinds of cases, parents and caregivers often lack the resources to address both the difficult circumstances in which they find themselves and the needs of their children. Here, the state may intervene and provide families with the assistance that they need to succeed. While not unlimited, the state's resources are vast. For example, the aid provided to families may consist of monetary support, psychological counseling, parenting classes, housing, child care, and/or educational support. After receiving such vital support, most families are capable of substantial recovery and reunification.

In the unfortunate circumstances where a child must be removed from the parent or caretaker, the state should make every attempt to place the child with another family member or close friend. If these options are unacceptable, the child may be placed in the foster care system.

I represent children and parents who are involved with the dependency system because I believe that every child is entitled to a safe, loving home and because I believe that every parent must be provided the chance to overcome the difficulties before them.


Law & Mediation Office of Jessica Watson
Attorney at Law
291 Geary Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94102