DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 1: Juvenile Court Reports and Hearings
8-4.1 The Jurisdictional Report
Juvenile Court Reports and Hearings
8-4.1 Jurisdictional Report
Reference Points
DFCS Policy on Court Reports in CWS/CMS


When is a Jurisdictional Report Written
Hearsay Evidence
Jurisdictional Report Example
Other References

Jurisdictional Report Contents

Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 7/9/09
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 355
Popup Window In re Melinda S...
 CWS/CMS Forms:

Court Management Section: Court Reports


Resource Management Section

bullet Client Services Section: Client Notebook


The Jurisdictional Report is formatted in  a Word document in CWS/CMS under the Court Management Section.  Because many of the areas of the report self-populate, it is important that the information in CWS/CMS, including names and addresses, are current.  The social worker is responsible for keeping client information updated in CWS/CMS and should review CWS/CMS client notebooks to ensure that all identifying information is recorded and current.

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DFCS Policy on Court Reports in CWS/CMS   It is the policy of the Department of Family and Children's Services that, except for the Initial Hearing Report, all court reports must be created in CWS/CMS or copied into CWS/CMS prior to the date of the court hearing.  Every court hearing date in CWS/CMS must have a corresponding report.
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The purpose of the Jurisdictional Report is to present all information to the court regarding a social worker's investigation.  Evidence included in the report supports each allegation presented in the petition in sufficient detail for the court to sustain the petition and support the dispositional recommendations.

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When Is a Jurisdictional Report Written  

A Jurisdictional Report, rather than the usual Jurisdictional/Dispositional Report, is written when there is needed information, and the social worker cannot make dispositional recommendations without the information.   Common examples are when a social worker is waiting for the results of a paternity test or psychological evaluation. 

The social worker does have the option of writing the full Jurisdictional/Dispositional Report, rather than only the Jurisdictional Report, with as much information as is available at the time of the writing of the report, requesting that the matter be continued for receipt of the information and, at the continued hearing, submitting an Addendum with the additional information and dispositional recommendations.

The Jurisdictional Report must be submitted to County Counsel's Office no later than 3 days prior to the Jurisdictional/Dispositional Hearing.

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Any legally admissible evidence that is relevant to the circumstances or acts that are alleged to bring the minor within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court is admissible and may be received in evidence.  (WIC § 355 (a))

A social study (court report) prepared by the petitioning agency, and hearsay evidence contained in it, is admissible and constitutes competent evidence upon which a finding of jurisdiction pursuant to Section 300 may be based.  (WIC § 355 (b)) [In re Malinda S. (1990)]  

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Front Page Headings   In this section, the hearing date and the child's name, date of birth , age, sex and petition (court) number populate from both the Hearing Notebook and Client Notebook/ID pages.   The Hearing Time, Dept./Room. and Hearing Type/Subtype must be entered manually by the social worker.
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Summary Recommendations  

Under this section, when only a Jurisdictional Report is submitted, the social worker includes a few sentences to summarize the recommendation for a finding regarding the petition; the child's coming within the provisions of Welfare and Institutions Code Section 300; a continuation of the matter; and a reason for the request for continuance.

Example:  The recommendation is for the petition to be sustained and for the Court to find that the child comes within the provisions and description of Welfare and Institutions Code § 300.   It is further recommended that the matter be continued for disposition to allow time for the social worker to receive the results of paternity testing.

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Children's Whereabouts  

Under this section, the social worker lists the names and addresses of each child named in the report are in the section, along with the caregiver's name and exact relationship to the child.

  • If the court has issued a confidential order, enter "confidential" after the child's name.
  • Pursuant to WIC § 308, the address of a licensed foster family home must be kept confidential, until the dispositional hearing, at which time the court may disclose the address.
    • The foster parent may authorize the release of the placement address any time during the placement.
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Parents/Legal Guardians  

This information populates from the parent's Client Notebook in CWS/CMS.  The mother, father, including all alleged fathers, should be listed.  If the information does not populate, the social worker must enter it manually and/or update the Client Notebook with any new or missing information.

  • If a parent's address is confidential, delete the address and enter "Confidential." 
  • If the current address of the parent is unknown, enter the parent's last known address and add "last known" beside the address. 
  • If the identity of a parent is unknown or the parent's address has never been known, enter "never known" in the spaces provided.
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Interpreter   This section appears only if selected in the Interpreter Dialog Box as the report is being created in CWS/CMS.  The social worker must manually enter the information, as appropriate.
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Attorneys   Information in this field is populated from the client notebook/attorney page, if the attorney's name has been entered into the database. If the information does not self-populate, the social worker must enter the data manually into these fields and/or update the Attorney Staff Person Listing in CWS/CMS.  
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Indian Child Welfare Act  

The social worker:

  • Chooses from the two possible choices in the ICWA Dialog Box that appears as the report is being created in CWS/CMS:
    • The Indian Child Welfare Act does not apply, or
    • The Indian Child Welfare Act does or may apply
  • Adds information regarding:
    • The identity of who was questioned
    • The date of questioning and
    • What was said. 

Example:  The Indian Child Welfare Act does not apply.  On 1/10/05, during a telephone interview with this social worker, the mother stated that there is no Native American decent on her or the father's side of the family.  On 6/21/05, during an interview with this social worker, the father stated that he is not of Native American descent.

If ICWA does or may apply, the social worker must add further information regarding:

  • The name of the tribe.
  • The action taken to verify the heritage.
  • Any contacts made with the tribe and Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • How notice was provided to the tribe.
  • The date the tribe signed the certified return receipt, if the receipt has been received.
  • The status of the verification request.

See OPP Chapter 13-12: Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

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Search Result History  

The social worker chooses from the two possible choices in the Search Results/History Dialog Box that appears as the report is being created in CWS/CMS:

  • Due Diligence Report attached, or
  • Not Applicable

It is not necessary to attach a Due Diligence Report, if one or both parents is absent.  It is unlikely that a search that meets due diligence requirements will have been completed by the time of the Jurisdictional Hearing.  However, under this section, the social worker must discuss all efforts made to locate missing parents and the result of those efforts.  This includes alleged and presumed fathers.

Example :  Neither of the parents' whereabouts is known at this time. On 12/1/2005, this social worker contacted the county jail and state prisons, searched CWS/CWS database files, and looked in local telephone directories in an attempt to locate the parents. On 12/5/2005, a request for location services was submitted to the district attorney’s office. To date the parents have not been located.

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Legal History  

This populates from the Court Management Section of CWS/CMS.   Information regarding the petition and Initial Removal should appear.  If it does not appear, the social worker manually enters the dates of the initial removal and initial detention order. 

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Reason for Hearing  

Under this section, the social worker provides a brief description of the circumstances that led to the child's coming before the court. 

Example: This case appears for a Jurisdictional Hearing.  On 7/7/05, the child was placed in temporary custody by an officer from the San Jose Police Department, after her parents were arrested for being under the influence of methamphetamines.  An Initial Petition Hearing was held on 7/10/05, at which time the Court ordered that the minor be detained and temporarily placed with the maternal aunt.

If the petition is for an out-of-custody situation, the social worker explains when, why, and by whom the referral for the out-of-custody petition was made.

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Paternity/Legal Relationships  

If paternity has been established, the social worker enters that fact in this section.  The basis under which paternity was established should be made clear. 

Example1: Mr. H. is the legal father of the child by virtue of his marriage to the mother at the time of the child's birth.  Further, Mr. H. holds himself out as the child's father, having signed a Declaration of Paternity at the hospital when the child was born.

Example 2: Paternity was established by Santa Clara Family Court (Case # 103FL1393540).


If legal paternity has not been established, the social worker:

  • Identifies all legal, presumed and alleged fathers.  Include any information regarding:
    • Marital history
    • Paternity findings/orders
      • Date of the paternity order
      • Identity of the court issuing the paternity order
    • Waivers of paternity
    • Statements of the mother regarding paternity.

  • Determines whether paternity must be established. Discuss:
    • Whether the alleged father contacted and advised that he has been named the father of the child.  If not, why not?
    • Whether the named father was advised of the need to establish paternity, if he believes he is the father.  If not, why not?
    • The attitude of the named father toward paternity.
      • Does he express a willingness to assume the rights and responsibilities of parenthood.
    • Whether the mother was married at the time of the child's birth to someone other than the man she named as the father.
      • Was the man she was married to at the time of the child's birth noticed of the hearing?  If not, why not?

Under this section heading the social worker gives any information relating to legal guardianship, if one was established, including:

    • Name of guardian(s)
    • Date of guardianship order
    • Identity of the court issuing the guardianship order

See OPP Chapter 9-2: Paternity Issues in Juvenile Court.

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Family Law Status  

Under this section, the social worker discusses any prior family law history, custody orders, etc.  In the discussion, the family law file number as well as the name and location of the court of jurisdiction is to be included.

If there is no Family Law Court involvement, write, "There has been no Family Court Involvement with this family."

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Prior Child Welfare History  

If there is no prior child welfare history, write, "None."

Under this section, the social worker lists previous child abuse reports involving the parents and/or child.  The listing is written in chronological order, starting with the most recent date.  Each report should be complete with the date, the allegation, any child welfare services that may have resulted, and the disposition of the child abuse referral.


10/27/04 - General Neglect 

Children: Antonio and Alyssa Y.
Substantiated –

The police observed the mother’s home to be in disarray and dirty.   Antonio, age seven, walked home from school alone, did not have a key, and no one was home to let him in. Antonio reported that he has been locked out at least ten times during the school year.  The mother stated that she was overwhelmed.  She was offered Informal Supervision services, and she signed an IS Agreement on 10/28/04.

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Criminal History  

If there is no criminal history, write, "None."

Under this heading, the social worker must enter the name and the "also known as" (aka) of persons significant to the child.  Under each name, the information regarding criminal convictions, including the date, type and description of the crime.  (Suggested use of a table for easier reading)



John Doe (aka James Doe)

HS 11377(a) - Possess Controlled Substance
HS 11350 - Use, under the influence of controlled substance
PC1320(a) - Failure to Appear
 PC 243 - Battery





Document, if applicable,:

  • Probation/parole status
    • Date probation/parole status expires
    • Name of current probation/parole officer
  • Name and location of jail/prison, if a parent is incarcerated
    • The person's jail or prison number
    • Anticipated release date
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  • Allegation

Under this section, the social worker organizes the information by the allegations, which are listed in the order they appear on the petition, i.e., a-1, a-2, b-1, etc.  The wording of the allegation is written as it appears on the petition. 

  • If any of the allegations contains the exact same language (for example, a-1 and b-1), it is only necessary to enter the allegation once and indicate all of the allegation numbers in front of it.


  • Supporting Evidence

Directly following the allegation, the social worker writes the heading, "Evidence", and documents in the report the evidence that substantiates the facts regarding the allegations made in the petition.  Facts include:

  • what was seen, heard and read, either directly by the social worker or
  • statements made by another person (a witness) to the social worker regarding what that person has seen, heard or read. 
    • Witnesses may include the child, parent, teacher, doctor, etc. 
    • If a document is attached to the report which supports the allegation, the following should appear under Evidence, "Attached and included as a part of this report is the report from (name of reporter) which states that (summarize the pertinent information in the report)."

      • Attachments may include medical reports, school reports, psychological evaluations, drug testing results reports, etc.
  • Witness Statements

Witness statements should be included within the context of the supporting evidence narrative. The statements by the witnesses regarding each allegation are entered under the headings of the witness's role.  For example, child, mother, father, doctor, teacher, etc.  Include verbatim statements whenever possible.  Attempt face-to-face contact with each primary party to the petition.  Enter the date, time, place of interview and the person's relationship to the case.  If the witness was interviewed by telephone, enter the telephone number, unless it is confidential such as a foster parent's phone number. 

When documenting information obtained during an interview, the social worker lists the title of the person; that person's address and phone number (unless either is confidential); the date of the interview; and the location of the interview for each person.   State whether the interview was held in-person or over the telephone.  Clearly state what the individual says. The information should be consistent with any testimony the individual may be required to make on the witness stand, if that individual is called to testify.

  • Parent's Response to the Allegations or Statement of Witnesses

Whenever possible, the social worker documents each parent's response to the allegations and the parents' rebuttal statements to witness statements. 

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DFCS staff use recommendations on the G:drive from which the social worker selects the appropriate recommendations.  A page break must be inserted before the Recommendation section so that the section starts at the top of a new page.  To meet the rules of court, at a minimum, the last paragraph of the recommendation section must appear on the signature page.  A page break may be entered at the appropriate line or the social worker may strike the 'Enter' key to add the needed lines to ensure that the last paragraph appears on the signature page.

  • Choose Rec .010 from the G: drive list for Recommendations for Jurisdiction Only - Continue for Disposition.  
  • Add any additional recommendations to the Court.


8. That the child undergo a psychological evaluation.

9.  That the Department of Family and Children’s Services be authorized to release the Jurisdiction/Disposition Report to the evaluator assigned to complete the Court-ordered psychological evaluation of the child.

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Jurisdictional Report Example   Example: Mother Presenting with Mental Health Issues - Paternity Not Resolved
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Other References  
bullet2 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
bullet2 Paternity Issues in Juvenile Court
MS Word2 Recommendation .010
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