The short answer is yes, per the California Rules of Court 7.952(a); and I always encourage the parents of my injured child client to have him or her attend the court hearing. The reason for this is because the judge can then meet the minor child and ask him or her questions about his or her injuries, including their present medical condition. It also impresses on the child that this is an important matter, and also shows him or her the legal process as regards the settlement funds. The minor child’s presence will help to ensure approval of the court regarding the settlement amount which helps to prevent any unforeseen delays of the settlement itself. If the minor child is not present, and if the judge feels, based on the medical evidence and other factors, that mandatory appearance of the minor child is not required, then the minor child does not have to appear before the court for approval of his or her bodily injury settlement. This means the judge has found “good cause” to not require the child to physically appear for the court hearing. A good example of this would be when a child is out of state in private school, making travel costs to attend the court hearing not cost effective.
In my San Diego child injury law practice, I encourage each of my injured child clients to attend - not only based on what was said above, but also so the injured child can "see" the legal process. Also, it helps to solidify the importance of what they are doing and how it relates to their settlement funds - also the education to the injured child on financial responsibility really begins with this court approval hearing.
Legal Research for the above FAQ: CRC (Probate Rules) 7.953(a). 135 CRC (Probate Rules) 7.953(b). 136 CRC (Probate Rules) 7.951, and 7955; California Family Code Section 6602; California Probate Code Section 3601. 137 See Forms 12B:2 through 12B:6 Rivera, Cal. Prac. Guide: Civ. Pro. Before Trial FORMS (TRG).