Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

11.13 How to File a Petition

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 11-CPS Court
11.13 How to File a Petition

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Legal Authority/Introduction



The SSW:

  1. Files an AOC-DNA1 Juvenile Compliant/Petition, the legal document to initiate formal court proceedings in District, Juvenile or Family court, for a substantiated abuse, neglect or dependency petition as follows:1 2
    1. Marks the appropriate box to indicate whether the petition is based on abuse, neglect or dependency;
    2. Includes the affiant’s sworn statement setting forth the allegations of abuse, neglect or dependency in regard to the child;
    3. Includes a complete and accurate statement of the allegations, which if found to be true, meets the definition of a dependent, abused or neglected child;
    4. States how the alleged dependency, abuse or neglect occurred by answering the following questions:
      1. Who the alleged victim is;
      2. Who the alleged perpetrator is;
      3. What specifically happened;
      4. When did it occur; and
      5. Where did it occur;
    5. Includes the names and addresses of both parents on the petition, if known, and every effort is made to secure both; and
    6. Files the petition in the court clerk’s office and a hearing date is set;
  2. Attaches a list of witnesses’ names and addresses as appropriate to the original petition; 3 
  3. Immediately notifies Office of Legal Services (OLS) if a judge orders the SSW to file a petition in a case that the Cabinet was not intending to file a petition;
  4. Amends the original petition to include any additional allegations when further information or new allegations are discovered; this allows evidence regarding these allegations to be presented in court. 4  


  1. The county attorney may assist the SSW in preparing the petition.
  2. A separate petition is filed for each child, even if the child is part of a sibling group.
  3. The county attorney may find this useful in preparing the case.
  4. The petition is the legal basis or framework for any further action in court, and only the facts alleged in the petition may be presented as evidence in court.


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