What to Expect at your DCYF Hearing - Prehearing Conference Process

Prehearing Conference Process

What is a Prehearing Conference (PHC)?

This is a phone call with the judge and the Agency Representative. Some cases have a prehearing conference (PHC) before the hearing. A PHC is not a hearing. You are not providing testimony or witnesses for this meeting.

If your case is scheduled for a PHC you must participate. Otherwise, your case may be dismissed.

What happens at a PHC?

You will agree on a date and time for the hearing. The judge will explain how the hearing works. The judge will also make sure that everyone understands what the hearing will be about. You will not tell the judge your side of the case and you do not need witnesses. That will happen at the hearing.

For more information refer to the purpose of a PHC (WAC 110-03-0180).

Do I have a PHC or a hearing?

This information can be found on your notice. In the top right corner it will say “Notice of Prehearing Conference” or “Notice of Hearing.”

This notice also gives you the date and time of the prehearing conference or hearing.
Please follow the instruction on your notice to participate in the call.

How do I prepare for a PHC?

  • Please provide a working phone number to OAH.
  • If using a cell phone, make sure the battery is fully charged for at least an hour of use.
  • Try to have good, clear reception with no background noise. If the judge cannot hear you, your case may have to be rescheduled.
  • You must be able to receive calls from a blocked caller ID or unknown number.
  • Have a pen and paper available for note taking.
  • Do not drive during the PHC.
  • Do not multitask. The judge will expect your full attention.

What is a PHC Order?

After the PHC, you will get a PHC order in the mail that describes agreements made and what the judge ordered. If you disagree with the PHC order, you can file an objection. Refer to the order for instructions.