Code Section

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC

DIVISION 2. CHILDREN [100 - 1500]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 369. )
  

PART 1. DELINQUENTS AND WARDS OF THE JUVENILE COURT [100 - 1455]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 369. )
  

CHAPTER 2. Juvenile Court Law [200 - 987]

  ( Chapter 2 repealed and added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 1616. )
  

ARTICLE 25. Support of Wards and Dependent Children [900 - 914]
  ( Heading of Article 25 renumbered from Article 16 by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1068. )

  
903.45.  

(a) The board of supervisors may designate a county financial evaluation officer pursuant to Section 27750 of the Government Code to make financial evaluations of liability for reimbursement pursuant to Sections 903, 903.1, 903.2, 903.25, 903.3, and 903.5, and other reimbursable costs allowed by law, as set forth in this section.

(b) (1) (A) In a county where a board of supervisors has designated a county financial evaluation officer, the juvenile court shall, at the close of the disposition hearing, order any person liable for the cost of support, pursuant to Section 903, the cost of legal services as provided for in Section 903.1, supervision costs as provided for in Section 903.2, or any other reimbursable costs allowed under this code, to appear before the county financial evaluation officer for a financial evaluation of his or her ability to pay those costs. If the responsible person is not present at the disposition hearing, the court shall cite him or her to appear for a financial evaluation. In the case of a parent, guardian, or other person assessed for the costs of transport, food, shelter, or care of a minor under Section 903.25, the juvenile court shall, upon request of the county probation department, order the appearance of the parent, guardian, or other person before the county financial evaluation officer for a financial evaluation of his or her ability to pay the costs assessed.

(B) (i) This paragraph does not apply to costs described in this paragraph for purposes of a minor who is adjudged a ward of the juvenile court, who is placed on probation pursuant to Section 725, who is the subject of a petition that has been filed to adjudge the minor a ward of the juvenile court, or who is the subject of a program of supervision undertaken pursuant to Section 654.

(ii) Notwithstanding clause (i), this paragraph applies to a minor who is designated as a dual status child pursuant to Section 241.1, for purposes of the dependency jurisdiction only and not for purposes of the delinquency jurisdiction.

(2) If the county financial evaluation officer determines that a person so responsible has the ability to pay all or part of the costs, the county financial evaluation officer shall petition the court for an order requiring the person to pay that sum to the county or court, depending on which entity incurred the expense. If the parent or guardian is liable for costs for legal services pursuant to Section 903.1, the parent or guardian has been reunified with the child pursuant to a court order, and the county financial evaluation officer determines that repayment of the costs would harm the ability of the parent or guardian to support the child, then the county financial evaluation officer shall not petition the court for an order of repayment, and the court shall not make that order. In addition, if the parent or guardian is currently receiving reunification services, and the court finds, or the county financial officer determines, that repayment by the parent or guardian will pose a barrier to reunification with the child because it will limit the ability of the parent or guardian to comply with the requirements of the reunification plan or compromise the parent’s or guardian’s current or future ability to meet the financial needs of the child, or in any case in which the court finds that the repayment would be unjust under the circumstances of the case, then the county financial evaluation officer shall not petition the court for an order of repayment, and the court shall not order repayment by the parent or guardian. In evaluating a person’s ability to pay under this section, the county financial evaluation officer and the court shall take into consideration the family’s income, the necessary obligations of the family, and the number of persons dependent upon this income. A person appearing for a financial evaluation has the right to dispute the county financial evaluation officer’s determination, in which case he or she is entitled to a hearing before the juvenile court. The county financial evaluation officer, at the time of the financial evaluation, shall advise the person of his or her right to a hearing and of his or her rights pursuant to subdivision (c).

(3) At the hearing, a person responsible for costs is entitled to have, but shall not be limited to, the opportunity to be heard in person, to present witnesses and other documentary evidence, to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, to disclosure of the evidence against him or her, and to receive a written statement of the findings of the court. The person has the right to be represented by counsel, and, if the person is unable to afford counsel, the right to appointed counsel. If the court determines that the person has the ability to pay all or part of the costs, including the costs of any counsel appointed to represent the person at the hearing, the court shall set the amount to be reimbursed and order him or her to pay that sum to the county or court, depending on which entity incurred the expense, in a manner in which the court believes reasonable and compatible with the person’s financial ability.

(4) If the person, after having been ordered to appear before the county financial evaluation officer, has been given proper notice and fails to appear as ordered, the county financial evaluation officer shall recommend to the court that the person be ordered to pay the full amount of the costs. Proper notice to the person shall contain all of the following:

(A) That the person has a right to a statement of the costs as soon as it is available.

(B) The person’s procedural rights under Section 27755 of the Government Code.

(C) The time limit within which the person’s appearance is required.

(D) A warning that if the person fails to appear before the county financial evaluation officer, the officer will recommend that the court order the person to pay the costs in full.

(5) If the county financial evaluation officer determines that the person has the ability to pay all or a portion of these costs, with or without terms, and the person concurs in this determination and agrees to the terms of payment, the county financial evaluation officer, upon his or her written evaluation and the person’s written agreement, shall petition the court for an order requiring the person to pay that sum to the county or the court in a manner that is reasonable and compatible with the person’s financial ability. This order may be granted without further notice to the person, provided that a copy of the order is served on the person by mail or by electronic means pursuant to Section 212.5.

(6) However, if the county financial evaluation officer cannot reach an agreement with the person with respect to either the liability for the costs, the amount of the costs, the person’s ability to pay the costs, or the terms of payment, the matter shall be deemed in dispute and referred by the county financial evaluation officer back to the court for a hearing.

(c) At any time prior to the satisfaction of a judgment entered pursuant to this section, a person against whom the judgment was entered may petition the rendering court to modify or vacate the judgment on the basis of a change in circumstances relating to his or her ability to pay the judgment.

(d) Execution may be issued on the order in the same manner as on a judgment in a civil action, including any balance remaining unpaid at the termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the minor.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 678, Sec. 25.5. (SB 190) Effective January 1, 2018.)