Who Can File a §388 Petition?

Any person who has an interest in a dependent child of the juvenile court can request a hearing before a judge under Welfare and Institutions Code section 388.  Welfare and Institutions Code section 388 specifically states any parent or "other person" having an interest in a child who is a dependent child of the juvenile court (even when you are not a party and do not qualify for de facto status) may petition the court for a change of court order using a JV-180 form. 


When to File a Request to Change Court Order

You should file a form called the JV-180 Request to Change Court Order for important issues that need to be addressed immediately. Specifically, the JV-180 is appropriate when:

  • An immediate hearing is required
  • Circumstances have changed or there is new evidence that you can offer to the judge
  • It is in the child’s best interests to modify a previous order
  • You seek visits, placement, or contact with a dependent sibling in foster care, or on behalf of a child who has a sibling in foster care

Welfare and Institutions Code § 388; California Rule of Court 5.570(e)


How to File a Request to Change Court Order

California Rule of Court 5.570 outlines the process for petitioning the court to modify an existing order.  To Request to Change Court Order, you must complete and file the following forms:


NOTE:  If there is more than one foster child or youth involved in the case in which you are making a request, we suggest you file the above mentioned forms for EACH child or youth (even if they have the same case number).


CAUTION:  When filling out a JV-180, you must include a specific description of the change in circumstance and/or new evidence that has developed to show the court it is in the child's best interest to change the order.  Most successful JV-180 petitions include declarations or other attachments that demonstrate the specifics of the change in circumstance and the best interest of the child. See In re Ramone R. (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 1339, 1348 (holding that conclusory claims in a JV-180 petition are insufficient to require a hearing, and that a JV-180 must include a specific description of the change in circumstance or new evidence). If you need further information about completing a JV-180, please call or email Advokids.


See also Guidelines for completing JV-180, JV-183, and JV-184.


If you choose to file the form in person:

  • Make 8 or more copies of the completed JV-180 form and attachments.
  • Take the original JV-180 form (plus 8 copies) to the court clerk’s office at the courthouse where the hearing will be held.
  • You are required to serve the parties with a copy of your JV-180 form so they all have notice you have filed it.  However, if you are not represented by an attorney, the court clerk will do this for you.

Page 3 of JV-180 states: “If you do not have an attorney, the clerk will send notice and copies of your request to all persons required to receive notice under Welfare and Institutions Code sections 297 and 386, and rules 5.524 and 5.570 of the California Rules of Court.”

  • Don't forget to keep one copy of the date-stamped form (file-endorsed by the clerk) for yourself.


If you choose to file the form by mail:

  • Place your original JV-180 form and all but one of the copies (keep this copy for your records) in a large envelope.
  • Also include in the large envelope, the following:
    • A note indicating “For filing and service” and the case number and/or a cover letter.
    • A self-addressed postage paid envelope (so the clerk can send you back a file-endorsed copy). Here is a sample cover letter to the clerk.
  • Mail to the court clerk’s office at the courthouse where the hearing will be held.
  • As stated above, you are required to serve your JV-180 on all parties in the case.  However, if you do not have an attorney, the clerk will do this for you.

Welfare and Institutions Code §§ 297 and 386; California Rules of Court 5.524 and 5.570


You have the option to e-file your JV-180 in the following counties:

Other counties may also offer e-filing in their juvenile divisions.  If you are in a different county and wish to e-file, you should call the court clerk’s office to learn whether the juvenile court currently accepts submissions by e-file.  Be sure to specify that you are inquiring about filing in juvenile court, as counties may permit e-filing in other courts, but not the juvenile division. 

Note:  Some counties may have additional rules for filing and serving forms in dependency court (such as the JV-180), it is always a good idea to check the local rules in your county before proceeding with any court filing.


Interested in learning more about the JV-180? Check out our online training, How to Access the Juvenile Court: A Legal Training For Caregivers.


List of Forms and Supporting Documentation for §388 Petition

Please note that many of the above forms are fillable (but cannot be saved).


» » Need help with PDF Files? Click here

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