123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282Plaintiffs E.T., K.R., C.B., and G.S., by their next friend,Frank Dougherty, (collectively “plaintiffs”) oppose the motions.On November 6, 2009, the court heard oral argument on defendants’arguments relating to justiciability. For the reasons set forthbelow, defendants’ motion to dismiss is GRANTED.
This case arises out of plaintiffs’ allegations that thecaseloads in dependency courts in Sacramento County are soexcessive that they violate federal and state constitutional andstatutory provisions. Specifically, plaintiffs contend that theoverburdened dependency court system frustrates both the abilityof the courts to adjudicate and provide children with ameaningful opportunity to be heard and the effective, adequate,and competent assistance of counsel. (Compl., filed July 16,2009.)
A.Dependency Court Proceedings
Dependency proceedings are conducted to protect the safetyand well-being of an abused or neglected child whose parents orguardians cannot or will not do so or who themselves pose athreat to the child. (Compl. ¶ 28.) They commence with aninitial hearing, which is held to determine whether a child fallswithin one of ten jurisdictional bases of the juvenile court.Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 300, 305, 306, 311, 325 & 332.Dependency courts ultimately conduct an evidentiary hearingregarding the proper disposition of the child. Id. §§ 319, 352,355 & 358. In most cases, at the disposition hearing, dependencycourts “determine what services the child and the family need tobe reunited and free of court supervision.” Bridget A. v.
Case 2:09-cv-01950-FCD-DAD Document 39 Filed 01/07/2010 Page 2 of 51