Emergency Response

social worker with children

The Emergency Response Social Worker has:

  1. A Master's Degree.  Some are  Licensed Clinical Social Workers (L.C.S.W.) or Marriage and Family Therapist (M.F.T.)

  2. Ongoing special training and experience in assessment and intervention techniques.


The investigation Social Worker, often jointly with law enforcement, interviews the children, parents, and may also contact others who have knowledge of the circumstances.

The Social Worker (and Law Enforcement, if present) decide to:

  1. Close the case, with referrals to community services

  2. Offer in-home Family Maintenance or

  3. Take the children into temporary custody for their safety and file a Petition with the Juvenile Court requesting the children be made dependents of the Court.

A court Petition is sustained only if the Social Worker provides a preponderance of evidence of one of the following Sections of Welfare and Institutions Code 300:

  1. physical abuse,
  2. inability (mental illness, developmental disability, substance abuse), or willful or negligent failure to supervise,
  3. serious emotional damage,
  4. sexual abuse,
  5. severe physical abuse to a child under 5,
  6. parent convicted of causing death of another child,
  7. left without provisions of support (abandonment),
  8. minor freed for adoption,
  9. acts of cruelty, or
  10. prior abuse of siblings.

If the petition is not sustained, the case is closed.

Once the petition is sustained and the Court orders a Case Plan, the case is transferred to Family Reunification (children are removed from home) or Family Maintenance (children are court dependents left in the home, with close monitoring by the Juvenile Court and social work staff.)