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What rights do foster caregivers not have in the CINC court process?


Court Process & Legal Rights Guide For Foster Caregivers | Table of Contents


Not a Legal Party to CINC Proceedings

As a foster caregiver, you are not a legal party to the CINC proceedings; therefore, you cannot call or examine witnesses, present evidence, or object to testimony or evidence. However, a foster caregiver may “intervene” in limited instances per applicable law

No Right to Attend the Entire Hearing

As a foster caregiver, you are not a legal party to the CINC proceedings; therefore, while you have a right to attend the hearing and be heard, you may be asked by the judge to remain outside of the courtroom at the start of the hearing or leave during part of the hearing or leave the hearing after you speak. Only judges can decide whether the foster caregiver will remain in the hearing the entire time or not.

Not Entitled to an Attorney

As a foster caregiver, you are not entitled to have a lawyer represent you in the CINC proceedings. Only the child and their parents are entitled to an attorney in CINC proceedings. However, a foster caregiver may obtain their own attorney for the purpose of personal legal counsel and/or to intervene per applicable law.

No Ex Parte Communications

All information you wish to share with the court must be shared with all parties in the child’s case. You cannot send the judge a letter, make a phone call, or attempt to visit the judge outside of the presence of other legal parties in the child’s case. This is called ex parte communication. It is prohibited for ethical and legal reasons and applies to both lawyers and the court.