Accessing the Juvenile Case File
For Current or Former Foster Youth
You do not need a court order if you are a current or former foster youth and want to access your own case file. However, sometimes you will run into difficulty at the court clerk's office. We suggest printing out a copy of Welfare and Institutions Code § 827(a)(1)(C) and California Rule of Court 5.552 and showing the clerk if s/he denies your request to see your case file. You can also request to speak with a supervisor.
*NOTE regarding LA County: if you are seeking information from a Los Angeles County dependency case file (whether you are a current or former foster youth, a parent, an attorney, or other person entitled to access to juvenile case files without a court order), you may use this LA County specific JUV-010 Declaration in Support of Access to Juvenile Case file form to request access to the file. Your request may not be honored or the time within which the clerk is willing to produce the file may not be soon enough for your needs. (Advokids has received reports that the clerk has informed people entitled to access the file that it will take six months or more for the clerk to produce the file. In those cases, you may have to also file the JV-570 forms in addition to the JUV-010.)
If the clerk insists on seeing a court order before providing you access to your file, fill out and file the following (you will have to serve the parties by first class mail or personal service):
- JV-569 Proof of Service - Petition for Access
- JV-570 Petition for Access to Juvenile Case File
- JV-571 Notice of Petition for Access to Juvenile Case File
- JV-572 Objection to Release of Juvenile Case File (does not need to be filed, serve blank copy).
If you are under 26 years old, there is no cost to view and request a copy of your child welfare records, juvenile court records, and educational records (subject to existing federal and state confidentiality laws). Welfare and Institutions Code section 16001.9(a)(36)
For De Facto Parents
Welfare and Institutions Code § 827(a)(1)(E) provides that case files in a juvenile dependency case can be inspected by "attorneys for the parties," meaning that if you are a de facto parent and represented by an attorney, your attorney should be granted access to the file without having to file an 827 petition. If access is denied, your attorney can make a discovery motion bringing the court's attention to the statutory language. However, if you are a de facto parent who is not represented by counsel, you will likely have to utilize the above JV-569, 570, 571 and 572 forms.
For Adoptive Parents
If you are seeking information in the juvenile dependency case file of a child you adopted, you will have to use the JV-569, 570, 571 and 572 forms.
Monetary Fees and Confidentiality
There are fees associated and charged by the county clerk to redact and copy the juvenile case file. Effective January 2020, if you are a foster child/youth aged 26 or under, there is no cost to be associated with obtaining copies of your juvenile case file. You may have to print out a copy of Welfare and Institutions Code section 16001.9(a)(36) and bring it with you to show the court clerk.
If you still have trouble accessing the case file after following the above suggestions, please call Advokids, 415-924-0587
Legal Disclaimer: Advokids provides educational information and resources to those who use our website, call our hotline, or submit requests for information via the website. Any information provided may not be construed as the giving of legal advice to any person about a particular legal matter and should not be relied upon as the basis for taking a particular action or refraining from taking a particular action in any legal matter. If you want or need legal advice about a particular legal matter, you should consult a lawyer.