Why a Resource Caregiver Should Go to Court
Here are some reasons why a resource caregiver should seriously consider attending court hearings for the child in your care.
· To provide information about the child in your care.
· To request information or services that you or the child are entitled to but that you have not been able to obtain outside of court.
· To be available to answer questions raised during the hearing about the child’s progress and needs.
· To learn the progress of the case so that you can work more effectively toward reunification, planning for permanency, or caring for the child.
· To establish credibility with the judge so that you become a valued participant in the family court process.
· Demonstrate the importance you place on caring for the child.
Forms and information resource caregivers need to submit a court report are below.
Court Report Forms
This document has one page that provides categories to guide you in the writing of your report to court and one that shows a sample court report. Click here to download: Court_Report_Sample
Where to Send Court Reports:
On O`ahu, Send or Fax Report To:
Juvenile Client Services Branch
Kapolei Court Complex
ATTN: Name of court officer* or 587 Court Unit
4675 Kapolei Parkway
Kapolei, HI 96707
*Call 954-8000 to request name of court officer
If you are on Kaua`i, Maui, Moloka`i or Hawai`i, send report to:
- GAL, CASA or DHS Social Worker
- Request that they attach the entire report to their report to the court
- At the court hearing, be sure to confirm with the Judge that he received your report
Tips for Appearing in Court
· Don’t wear shorts, tank or sleeveless tops, or slippers. Try to avoid wearing sneakers and very casual clothing. Dress as you would for a job interview. It will tell the judge that you consider the courtroom a place where serious business is conducted and conveys your respect of the judge’s position.
· Don’t wear baseball caps or hats into the courtroom.
· If you have a beeper or cell phone, make sure it is turned off or turned to silent mode prior to entering the courtroom.
· Keep in mind that before you speak one word, people in the courtroom – judge, attorneys, bailiff – will have gotten some impression about you from your appearance and behavior.
· Always rise from your seat to a standing position when the judge enters or leaves the room. Wait to be told to sit down when you enter the courtroom.
· Don’t chew gum, eat or drink anything in the courtroom.
· Don’t have side conversations with other people in the courtroom when the case is before the judge.
· Address the judge as “Your Honor” when speaking to him or her.
· If you wish to ask a question or make a statement, and you are not sure when to speak, make sure the judge and the other parties are not in the middle of speaking, stand up or raise your hand to be acknowledged, and ask. For instance, “Excuse me, Your Honor, I don’t mean to speak out of turn, but I have a question I would like to ask.”
· When you hear statements being made by other parties in the case that you do not agree with, don’t respond to the person making the statement. Don’t make faces, sigh, or otherwise comment on the actions or testimony of others in the courtroom. Be patient until your time to speak comes. It may well detract from your own presentation later on. Judges hate it when people before them argue with one another, respond personally, and speak with one another instead of addressing the court.