DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 13: Cross Program Protocols
13-5  Protective Custody Warrants
Cross Program Protocols
13-5  Protective Custody Warrants

Reference Points

Overview
Standard for Issuing a Protective Custody (PC)Warrant to Remove a Child from the Family Home
When is a PC Warrant not Necessary for Removal
Approval for Filing a PC Warrant to Remove a Child from the Family Home
Non-Dependent Child - When to Request PC Warrant
Dependent Child - When to Request PC Warrant
Procedures for PC Warrants when Exigent Circumstances Do Not Exist
DFCS Petition Specialist's Role
Completing the Application and Declaration in Support of a PC Warrant (SCZ835)
Executing the PC Warrant for Removal of a Child from the Family Home
After the Warrant is Served and the Child is Removed from the Home
PC Warrants for Run Aways
PC Warrant for a Non-Dependent Child Whose Whereabouts is Unknown
PC Warrant for a Dependent Child Who is Taken from Placement Without Authorization
Life Span of a Warrant
Recalling a Warrant
Closing a Case of a Child with a History of Running from Placement


Reference Points
Effective Date: 4/1/06
Last Updated: 7/28/10
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 340
Popup Window WIC § 300
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Application and Declaration in Support of PC Warrant (SCZ835)
MS Word Warrant Memo (SCZ 1411)
MS Word Placement/Address Change (SCZ 17 Auto)


Overview  

Under Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 340, a superior court judge may issue a juvenile court protective custody warrant directing a law enforcement officer or social worker to place a child in temporary custody, when the court deems that the circumstances of the child's home environment may endanger the health, person, or welfare of the child, or whenever a dependent minor has run away from his or her court ordered placement. The child must come within any subdivision of the WIC § 300 or be a dependent of the court. In Santa Clara County, the application for the warrant is submitted by using the the Application and Declaration in Support of PC Warrant (SCZ835), which a judge must sign. Protective custody (PC) warrants are issued under specific circumstances for both dependent and non-dependent children.

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Standard for Issuing a PC Warrant to Remove a Child from the Family Home  

The juvenile court may only issue a protective custody warrant to remove a child from a family home if all of the following exist:

  • There is reasonable cause to believe that a child is a person described by WIC § 300, and

  • There is reasonable cause to believe that the child is in imminent danger of serious physical harm, and

  • The scope of the intrusion is necessary to avert the harm.
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When is a PC Warrant Not Necessary for Removal  

A social worker has authority to remove a child from parental custody without a warrant under limited circumstances which are:

  • The child is neglected (WIC 300 [b]) AND the social worker has reasonable cause to believe that the child is in immediate need for medical care or is in immediate danger.
  • The child is abandoned (WIC 300 [g]) AND the social worker has reasonable cause to believe that the child is in immediate need for medical care or is in immediate danger.
    • In cases where the child is found unattended, the social worker must first attempt to contact the parent to see if the parent can assume custody.
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Approval for Filing a PC Warrant to Remove a Child from the Family Home  

Non-dependent Child:

  • Approval for filing a protective custody (PC) warrant to remove a non-dependent child from his/her family home is obtained during a Joint Case Staffing.  In the event that a PC Warrant is needed before the matter can be taken to a Joint Case Staffing, held every Tuesday and Thursday morning, one of the DI social work supervisors must be contacted (975-5412 or 975-5413) to arrange a telephone case staffing and obtain approval for filing the PC Warrant.


Dependent Child:

  • It is mandatory for social workers to schedule a Team Decision Meeting (TDM) prior to filing a PC warrant to remove a dependent child from his/her family home. If the recommendation of TDM is to file a PC Warrant, it is the Continuing social worker who completes the paperwork and removes the child. 
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Non-dependent Child -When to Request a PC Warrant  

A protective custody (PC) warrant may be filed in the case of a non-dependent child, after the case has been staffed and the staffing committee recommends removal of the child from the home, when the non-dependent child:

  • Is assessed to be at risk of abuse or neglect if not removed, and there is no immediate and substantial threat to the child's life or health, i.e. exigent circumstances, that would allow the social worker to immediately remove the child from the home or parents' custody. 

  • Is considered at risk of abuse or neglect, and the child's whereabouts is unknown.

  • Is assessed to be at risk of abuse or neglect, and law enforcement officers refuse to take the child into temporary custody without a warrant.

 

 

Related OPP chapters include:

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Dependent Child - When to Request  a PC Warrant  

A PC warrant is filed in the case of a dependent child when the dependent child:

  • Is receiving Family Maintenance Services, and the social worker receives information that indicates that the child may be at risk of abuse or neglect if not removed, and there is no immediate or exigent circumstances that allows the social worker to immediately remove the child from the home.  
    • An example of this is a family receiving court-ordered Family Maintenance services due to a parent's substance abuse, and social worker receives results of a positive drug test for the parent.

  • Has run away from a court ordered placement, including his/her parents' home.

  • Has been stolen or otherwise taken, without authorization, from a court-ordered placement.
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Procedures for PC Warrants When Exigent Circumstances Do Not Exist  

If supported by appropriate facts and recommended as the result of a Joint Case Staffing, a social worker can file a protective custody (PC) warrant on behalf of a child to remove the child from his/her home and place the child in temporary custody when no exigent circumstances exist.  Once it is determined that a protective custody warrant is needed, the timeframe for preparing and filing the paperwork and subsequently removing the child from the home is critical.  The entire process must be completed as soon as possible and no later than the time designated by the staffing committee. 

In order to obtain a protective custody warrant to remove a child from his/her parents' custody:

The social worker:

  • Consults with a DFCS Petition Specialist, 975-5291 or 975-5292, regarding the facts of the case.
    • Take to the consultation:
      • All documents that were taken to the staffing
      • Notes from the staffing and the blue sheet.
    • The two DFCS Petition Specialists are located on the 2nd floor at the 373 W. Julian Office.

  • Works with the DFCS Petition Specialist who drafts the § 300 warrant petition for non-dependent children or § 387 warrant petition for dependent children.


  • Immediately drafts the Application and Declaration in Support of PC Warrant (SCZ835).  (See section below.)

  • Emails the SCZ 835 to County Counsel to have the narrative on the SCZ 835 approved.
    • Send the email to the County Counsel who was at the staffing and cc:
      • Carol.Robinson@cco.sccgov.org
      • Teri.Roblinson@cco.sccgov.org
      • Kimberly.Warsaw@cco.sccgov.org
      • Avril.Vazquez@cco.sccgov.org

  • After approval, prints the SCZ835 on green paper.


  • Completes a Warrant Memo (SCZ 1411).
    • Print on white paper.

  • Immediately proceeds to juvenile dependency court at 115 Terraine St. and presents the petition and application to the juvenile court judge for signature.
    • The social worker must wait in the event that the judge has questions and for receipt of the signed order for filing.
      • Be prepared to answer the following questions:
        • What is the immediate risk to the child?
        • Can the child be safely left in the home with court intervention?
        • What services have already been provided to the family?
        • What placement options are available for the child?
    • If the procedures occur after-hours, the social worker calls the Sheriff's Department (299-2501) and asks for the on duty judge.

      Note: If the judge does not sign the warrant, take the application and warrant petition to the Dependent Intake (DI) clerical for possible filing as an out-of-custody petition by a DI social worker.

 




  • Immediately files the signed petition and application with the Juvenile Court Clerk downstairs at 115 Terraine St.
    • The Clerk gives the stamped original warrant to the social worker for verification for law enforcement, in the event that law enforcement assitance is requested in the child removal.


If.. then the social worker..
the whereabouts of the child is known does not file the SCZ835 and SCZ1411 with the Sheriff's Department
the whereabouts of the child is unknown

Hand delivers a court endorsed, filed copy of the SCZ835 with the SCZ 1411 to the Sheriff's Department for entry into the law enforcement computer system.

  • Request that the warrant be entered immediately, or it might sit in the backlog basket for some time.



  • Make three copies of the original warrant.
    • File one of the copies in the case file.
    • Take the other two copies to the home removal.

  • Request law enforcement assistance if assessed as necessary.


  • Proceeds to the home the same day the order is signed and removes the child from the home.
    • Carry two copies the court file stamped application and petition.  One copy must be given to the parent, if the parent requests a copy.  One copy may be needed to show a law enforcement officer, if law enforcement assistance is requested.
    • If the child cannot be located, continued reasonable attempts must be made to  locate the child.
    • If the family is found to have moved to another county, contact the other county to request assistance in serving the warrant.  If unable to get assistance and the social worker knows the child's whereabouts, the social worker must go to the other county to serve the warrant.
    • See OPP Chapter 2-7: Taking a Child into Temporary Custody.

See sections below:

After the Warrant Is Served and the Child Is Removed from the Home and Recalling a Warrant.

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DFCS Petition Specialist's Role  

The role of the Petition Specialist in preparing the protective custody (PC) warrant is to:

  • Be available for consultation to the social worker.

  • Write the warrant petition in consultation with the referring social worker, after the recommendation of a Joint Case Staffing or approval by a DI supervisor (300 petition) or TDM (387 petition).

  • Submit the warrant petition to County Counsel for review.

  • Be available for assistance in completing or reviewing of the Application and Declaration in Support of PC Warrant (SCZ835), which is filled out by the social worker.

The two DFCS Petition Specialists are located on the 2nd floor at the 373 W. Julian Office.

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Completing the Application and Declaration in Support of a PC Warrant (SCZ835)  

The social worker completes the the Application and Declaration in Support of PC Warrant (SCZ835). The DFCS Petition specialist is available to assist with completing the form. To complete the SCZ835 for a PC warrant, the social worker:

  • Fills out all blank fields in at the top half of the front page. These fields include:
    • Social Worker's Phone, DFCS # and Worker #.
    • The child's name.
    • The JD Petition No.
    • The Court Department No.

  • Marks the box Protective Custody Warrant on top half of the front page.

  • Prints his/her name as the Petitioner.

  • Checks the first box under Section 1, Petitioner's Professional Qualifications.

  • Checks the appropriate box under Section 2, Child's Status.

  • Checks the box for Section 3, Request for Protective Custody Warrant.

  • Checks the appropriate box under Section 3.

  • Does not check box for Section 4 or Section 5.

  • If there is additional information, checks Section 6, Additional Information and attaches pages.
    • This item must contain the factual basis for the warrant application as well as a clinical assessment necessitating the removal of the child.
      • Clearly write at the start of the narrative why the child needs to be removed.
      • Write the narrative in complete sentences and do not use abbreviations.
      • Refer to any adults in a formal style, e.g. Mrs. Jones or Mr. Romero.
    • Include and/or attach any exculpatory evidence and any other information to support the warrant.

  • Completes Section 7.

Under Findings and Orders on the SCZ835, the social worker marks:

  • Box 2 (a), Protective Custody.
  • Appropriate box under 2(a).
  • Box 3(a) to indicate that a protective custody warrant shall be issued.
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Executing the PC Warrant for Removal of a Child from the Family Home  

A social worker may execute the protective custody warrant for removing a child in one of three ways. The social worker may:

  • Hand deliver an endorsed, filed copy of the SC835 and the SC1411 to the law enforcement agency which has jurisdiction in the matter and request law enforcement to accompany the worker and assist with the removal.

  • Take a copy of an endorsed, filed copy of the SC835 and the SC1411 to a location near the home from which the child is to be removed and phone the law enforcement agency which has jurisdiction in the matter and request that a law enforcement officer meet the social worker at the home to assist with the removal.

  • Take the child into temporary custody without law enforcement assistance.
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After the Warrant Is Served and the Child Is Removed from the Home  

If there is not an existing referral in CWS/CMS when the child is brought to the Assessment Intake Center (AIC), a referral is created by the AIC social worker.

The social worker who places the child in temporary custody completes the:

  • Investigation Narrative
  • Declaration of Reasonable Efforts
  • CAT - Emergency Response Tool (part one)
  • Contacts in CWS/CMS


If.. then..
The child is a non-dependent
  • The referral is transferred to a Dependent Intake social worker who:
    • Schedules a TDM to explore placement options for the child.
     
    • Completes the referral investigation.
     
    • Amends the 300 warrant petition to update information regarding the removal.
      • Attach the original warrant to the amended petition worksheet for forwarding to the court with the amended petition.
    •  
    • Writes the 300 Juris/Dispo Report.
The child is a dependent

The referring social worker:

  • Schedules a TDM to explore placement options for the child.

  • Completes the referral investigation.
  • Works with the DFCS Petition Specialists to amend the 387 warrant petition to update information regarding the removal.
    • Attach the original warrant to the amended petition worksheet for forwarding to the court with the amended petition.
  •  
  • Writes the 387 Juris/Dispo Report.


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PC Warrants for Run Aways  

Generally, no warrant petition is necessary when completing a Protective Custody Warrant for a Dependent child who has run away from a placement, and so the DFCS Petition Specialist is usually not involved in preparing these warrants. The exception to this is if the social worker wants to recommend a more restrictive placement for the child, when the child returns from run away. If a more restrictive placement is needed, a 387 warrant petition is included as part of the PC warrant packet, and the DFCS Petition Specialist assists in preparing a 387 Warrant Petition.

Upon learning that a child has run away from a court-ordered placement, the social worker:

  • Instructs the caretaker or facility to file a missing person's report with the local law enforcement agency.
    • The social worker follows up with the caretaker or facility to assure that a missing person's report has been completed. If there is a delay, the social worker makes the missing person's report.

  • Prepares a Warrant Memo (SC1411):
    • Under “Comments” on the SC141:
      • Add any descriptive information about the child or his/her whereabouts.
      • State that the child has run away from a court-ordered placement.
      • Give the address and any information on a location, if there is reason to believe that the child might be staying at the location.

  • Prepares the the Application and Declaration in Support of PC Warrant (SCZ835).
If.. then the social worker..
no Warrant Petition is included
  • Makes a copy of the SC 835 and SC 1411 to file in the case file.
  • Attaches the original and one copy of the SC 1411 to the SC 835.
  • Places the SC1411 and SC 835 in the Court Report basket for forwarding to the Court.
a Warrant Petition is to be included
  • Works with a DFCS Petition Specialist to prepare the 387 warrant petition.
  • Makes a copy of the warrant petition, SC 835 and SC 1411 to file in the case file.
  • Attaches the original and one copy of the SC 1411 to the SC 835.
  • Places the warrant petition, SC1411 and SC 835 in the Court Report basket for forwarding to the Court.

 

  • Completes the Placement/Address Change (SCZ17)
    • Check scenario 1: "Child's whereabouts unknown (abducted or runaway).
    • The SCZ 17 initiates the termination of foster care to the out-of-home caregiver.
  • Schedules a TDM to identify placement options for the child upon the child's return from run away.


See OPP Chapter 6-13: Runaway Status.

The social worker receives a copy of the filed Protective Custody Order signed by the Judge. If the Order is not received within two weeks of submission, contact one of the Court Assistants at 491-4200.

See chapter section on Closing a Case of a Child with a History of Running Away from Placement.

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PC Warrant for a Non-Dependent Child Whose Whereabouts is Unknown  

There are three general situations in which a PC warrant may be requested for a non-dependent child whose whereabouts is unknown:

  • When an ER or Continuing social worker is investigating a child abuse/neglect referral on a non-dependent sibling of a child already a dependent, the family moves without notifying the social worker and the social worker has serious concerns about the child's welfare.
  • When an Informal Supervision or Voluntary Family Maintenance social worker is providing voluntary services to a family, the family moves without notifying the social worker and the social worker has serious concerns about the child's welfare.
  • When a non-dependent infant is placed on a voluntary basis with his/her dependent teen parent, the teen parent leaves the placement without authorization and takes the infant.
    • In the case of the teen parent with non-dependent infant, the social worker prepares two PC warrants, one for the non-dependent baby and one for the dependent teen parent. The PC warrant packet for the baby must include a 300 warrant petition for filing on behalf of the baby, along with the SCZ835 and SC1411. The PC warrant packet for the teen parent does not need to include a warrant petition, unless the social worker will be requesting a more restrictive placement for the teen parent upon his/her return. In that case, the social worker consults with a DFCS Petition Specialist to prepare a 387 warrant petition, which is then included in the PC warrant packet for the teen parent, along with the SCZ835 and SC1411.
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PC Warrant for a Dependent Child Who is Taken from Placement Without Authorization  

If a child is taken from a court-ordered placement without authorization, the social worker files a PC warrant that does not include a warrant petition, unless the social worker is recommending that the child be placed in a more restrictive setting when he/she returns. In that case, the social worker consults with a DFCS Petition Specialist to prepare a 387 warrant petition, which is then included in the PC warrant packet, along with the SCZ835 and SC1411.

If the social worker believes that a parent has abducted a child, the worker may also contact the District Attorney's Office, Child Abduction Unit for their further assistance in locating the child.

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Life Span of a Warrant  

A protective custody warrant remains active until it is recalled by the Court, even if it has been served. The Court should recall the warrant at the first hearing after the child has been taken into temporary custody. However, when dismissing a case, a social worker verifies that all outstanding warrants are recalled by checking court minute orders. Information regarding outstanding warrants can be obtained by calling the Warrant Clerk at 491-4711.

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Recalling a Warrant  

A protective custody warrant remains active until it is recalled by the Court, even if it has been served.   It is important to assure that the warrant is recalled so that the child is not subjected to the terms of the warrant, i.e. being taken into custody, when there is no longer a need for the protective measures.

If a child returns or is returned to the Receiving and Intake Assessment Center after having run away from a court ordered placement, a Detention Hearing is held within 48 hours. If a protective custody warrant was filed on behalf of the child, the DFCS Petition Specialist, who prepares the Detention packet, adds the recommendation that the warrant be recalled when preparing the Detention Hearing packet. 

In the event that there is no Detention Hearing or the warrant is not recalled at the Detention Hearing, the social worker may take either of the following actions:

  • Submit an Ex-parte Application and Order to the court to request the recall.
    • If an Ex-parte Application and Order is submitted, a copy of the signed order recalling the warrant is returned to the social worker for filing in the case file.

  • Make the recommendation at a subsequent court hearing that the warrant be recalled.
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Closing a Case of a Child With a History of Running Away from Placement  

As one of the procedures for closing a case on a child who has a history of running away from placement, the social worker calls the County Clerk's Office to check to see if there are any outstanding warrants for the child.  The County Clerk can give the dates of any outstanding warrants which need to be recalled by the juvenile Court. The social worker recommends the recall of these warrants at the final hearing or submits an Application and Order to the Court to recommend the recall of the warrants. If the warrants are not recalled, there is the possibility of the child's being taken into custody, if, at some future time for any reason, a background check is run on the child and the outstanding warrant is discovered.

The social worker may also call the Sheriff's Department Warrants Desk at 808-4720 for the status on any warrant that may have been issued.

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Other References  
doc2 Agency Announcement: Returning Protective Custody Warrants to the Court
bullet2 OPP Chapter 13-1: Joint Case Staffings
bullet2 OPP Chapter 13-3: Home Entry Orders
bullet2 OPP Chapter 13-9: Sibling Protocol
bullet2 OPP Chapter 2-7.1: Notifying Hospital Staff of Placing a Child in Temporary Custody
bullet2 OPP Chapter 2-7: Taking a Child into Temporary Custody
bullet2 OPP Chapter 6-13: Runaway Status
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