Understanding Dependency and Neglect Charges requires understand that Colorado Law considers ‘Dependency & Neglect’ (D&N) cases as those involving neglect or abuse of a child. However, it is different from a criminal prosecution as the parents involved in such a case are not charged for crime. Rather it is considered to be a civil case where parents accused of emotional, physical or sexual abuse of children are held accountable for trying to make a positive difference in family life in the best interest of their child/children.

The children who are part of a D&N case are typically put under the authority of the department of human services  “DHS” who safeguard the interests of the child.

How to decide if a child is dependent or neglected?


There are certain guidelines or pointers formulated by the Colorado Law that help in deciding if a child is dependent or neglected. These include the following:

  • A situation when a parent/guardian misbehaves with or abuses the child or abandons him/her.
  • When a parent/guardian gives permits a third person to abuse or ill treat the child or does not make an effort to stop or avert the abuse from taking place.
  • The parent/guardian does not take steps to provide adequate care to the child.
  • The child is living in an unsafe environment.
  • The child is not being offered proper education and health care by the parent/guardian.
  • The child does not have a home or is left without care with no fault of the parent/guardian
  • The child has escaped from home or is no longer under the parent/guardian’s control.

All parties involved in a D&N case-both children and parents and children have the right to seek the services of a lawyer at different stages of the case.

Court proceedings in dependency and neglect cases in Denver


A typical dependency and neglect case takes off when the county attorney for the Department of Human Services  files a petition. The term given to the parents involved in a Dependency & Neglect petition is ‘respondents’. The parents are required to be present before the court and at that time, they can reject the allegations made against them. In addition to this, they could also ask for a hearing of the case in a trial in the presence of a jury comprising six members or by a judge or juvenile magistrate.

On the other hand, parents/guardians may also admit to the accusations put forth in the petition and take the next step proceeding to the treatment stage of the case.

Criminal defense lawyer in Denver


If you face a  dependency and neglect case in the metro Denver area, you should seek the services of experienced Criminal Defense Attorney, Richard B. Huttner. He has expertise in the field of Child Abuse Law and can convincingly present your case by taking you through the various stages of the case proceedings including the ‘Preliminary Protection Proceeding’, ‘Adjudicatory Hearing’ all the way through the trial process.

In case of a Disposition, where the court comes to the conclusion that the child is abused or neglected, a treatment plan for the case is approved for the family.  In the most serious of cases, the Department of Human Services can take your kids and you would lose your parenting rights.  Having an experienced dependency and neglect attorney by your side to fight for your kids is your only choice.