Working with Families to Improve Outcomes

Shoes Picture.jpeg

Areas of Practice

Amanda works with the following types of clients.  

Don't see yourself here?  Contact us for a consultation to see if Amanda can assist you.


When children are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, the courts get involved to ensure that parents and children receive the services they need to make the family whole again. Working with Social Services can be challenging and stressful, and so can navigating the courts. Amanda helps parents to understand what is happening in their case, what is expected of them, and how to end court involvement. She also ensures that the court is aware of a parent's vital interests, like visiting their children, obtaining necessary services, and protecting the family's privacy. Amanda can handle your case from the very beginning, and can also handle any necessary appeals, should the court make an unfavorable ruling.


When children are brought before the Juvenile Court, they are appointed a lawyer. Children are also entitled to retain a lawyer of their own choosing. Amanda has 5 years of experience representing children in Juvenile Court, and handling every aspect of their cases, including complex mental health, educational, and placement issues. Amanda knows how to speak with children so they feel respected, and ensures that their voices are heard throughout the court process. 

Foster Parents, De Facto Parents & Prospective Adoptive Parents

Sometimes a child cannot be returned home, and has spent a significant amount of time in a foster home, forging a bond with foster parents that the law believes should be protected. Amanda can help you complete the necessary court filings to obtain both De Facto Parent status and Prospective Adoptive Parent status. Amanda has over 6 years of experience working with foster parents to protect the significant relationships they have with foster youth, and has repeatedly litigated placement issues. Amanda can also help you navigate complicated relationships that arise with the child's social worker, therapists, school, and other service providers.


Aside from parents, Relatives are the best alternative for keeping a child connected to their biological family. The law recognizes this, and gives "placement preference" to certain relatives. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult for relatives to get placement of a foster child due to the burdensome placement approval process. Amanda will work with you to request placement, complete the necessary paperwork, and go to court if necessary to request a court order for placement.

Special Topics

Amanda Sherwood is an experienced litigator who has conducted hundreds of trials, addressing a wide range of issues. Below are just some of the issues that might come up during a Juvenile Dependency Case with which Amanda is familiar:

  • Paternity and parentage

  • Reasonable Services

  • Sibling Issues, including visitation and placement

  • Termination of Parental Rights and Exceptions, including the Beneficial Parental Relationship Exception and the Sibling Bond Exception

  • De Facto Parent and Prospective Adoptive Parent Status

  • Psychotropic Medication for Foster Youth

  • Medical Records and Expert Witness Testimony by Doctors, Therapists, and Bonding Experts

  • Placement

  • Resource Family Approval Process

  • Extended Foster Care (AB-12)

  • LGBTQIA issues including same-sex parents and three-parent families, child gender identity/expression impacting placement, etc.

  • Indian Child Welfare Act

  • Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege

  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the Hague Conventions regarding child custody

Serving the East Bay and North Bay Areas

Amanda takes cases in the following counties*:

  • Alameda County

  • Contra Costa County

  • Marin County

  • Napa County

  • Solano County


*Any cases outside these five counties will incur additional fees for travel time and mileage.