Foster parents and Caregivers: Testifying in Court

If you are a foster parent or a caregiver, you may be called upon to testify in court on as a witness in juvenile dependency hearings. On of the lawyers involved in the case will contact you to let you know that you may be requested to answer some questions on the stand, in some cases you may receive a subpoena which will have all the important information about when and where to appear for the court hearing.

Once you have taken the oath on the stand in court, you will be required to answer questions given by one or both of the attorneys relating to the case at hand. The following are some tips to testifying in court:

-Always tell the truth. You are under oath and may be charged with perjury if found to be lying.
-Enter the court room organized and well prepared
-Dress professionally
-Show respect
-Speak clearly and calmly, even if you are criticized or if your facts are challenged
-Be serious but polite at all times
-Listen carefully to each question, let the attorney finish each question before answering, and think before you answer
-You make ask the attorney to rephrase the question if you do not understand
-Give straight forward, concise and complete answers
-You may offer an explanation to your answer if you think it’s necessary
-Wait for the judge to make his ruling before you speak if an objection is made
-Use language you are comfortable with, for example do not try to use words you do not understand.

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