A. At any dependency hearing, the court’s primary consideration shall be the protection of a child from abuse or neglect.

B. At the initial dependency hearing, the court shall ensure that the parent or guardian has been advised of the following rights:

1. The right to counsel, including appointed counsel if the parent or guardian is indigent.

2. The right to trial by the court on the allegations in the petition.

3. The right to cross-examine all witnesses that are called to testify against the parent or guardian.

4. The right to use the process of the court to compel the attendance of witnesses.

C. If the parent or guardian admits or does not contest the allegations in the petition, the court shall determine that the parent or guardian understands the rights described in subsection B of this section and that the parent or guardian knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waives these rights.

D. If the parent or guardian denies the allegations in the petition, the court shall set the settlement conference, pretrial conference or mediation prescribed in section 8-844.

E. The court shall also determine if reasonable efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of a child from the child’s home and if services are available that would eliminate the need for continued removal. If the child is:

1. In the custody of the department, the court shall order the department to make reasonable efforts to provide services to the child and parent to facilitate the reunification of the family, except as provided in section 8-846.

2. Not in the custody of the department and the department is not a party, the court may direct the parties to participate in reasonable services that will facilitate reunification of the family or another permanent plan for the child. The court shall not require the department to provide services pursuant to this paragraph.

F. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the court may stay the proceedings and order in-home intervention as provided in article 14 of this chapter.