Rights of A De Facto Parent
The status of de facto parents does not entitle them to the same rights and responsibilities of parents or guardians. The concept of de facto parent status recognizes limited rights for the de facto parent in dependency cases. De facto parents have the right to be present at dependency proceedings, to be represented by counsel, and to present evidence. They do not have the right to reunification services, custody or visitation. Since de facto parents do not have a right to such services, even if they are given services they cannot appeal a juvenile court’s findings regarding such services. De facto parents are parties and entitled to procedural due process to the extent necessary and appropriate for them to assure their recognizable interest in the child. However, they are not entitled to the same procedural due process rights as natural parents throughout the entire course of the dependency process. The de facto parents do have a right to discovery, but they do not have an automatic right to receive copies of the social worker reports.