What Happens at a Permanency Hearing?

Planning for Permanency

Putting a child in foster placement is a short-term solution when that child cannot safely live at home. Safeguards are in place to ensure children do not remain in foster placement long-term. After a child has been in foster placement or with a relative for one year, New Jersey’s child welfare agency (DCP&P) must hold a permanency hearing. This is a very important hearing, and it is important you as a parent understand what the purpose of this hearing is.

At the permanency hearing, the DCP&P will present a plan for the child’s permanent placement. The plan can be to return the child to his or her parent, terminate parental rights and find an adoptive family, or naming the relative who is caring for the child the legal guardian. 

In the plan, the DCP&P provides its recommendations for the permanent placement of the child to the court. The judge presiding over the hearing will then decide whether the plan is in the child’s best interests and will approve or deny the plan. If approved, the DCP&P can then take action to find permanent placement for the child.

Permanency hearings can be held before a child has been in foster or relative care for one year. In situations where it is apparent that the child cannot return home safely, efforts may be made to find the child a long-term placement sooner. Permanency hearings can also be held more than once if a child remains in foster placement for longer than one year.

The child’s parents and foster parents or temporary caregivers are permitted to attend the hearing. As a parent, you should heavily consider having an attorney represent you. Consult with an experienced New Jersey child custody and child welfare attorney if you have questions about permanency hearings. Because the decisions made at permanency hearings are so important, you should never go to one without having a skilled legal advocate on your side. An attorney can explain what will happen at the hearing and what the permanency plan will mean for you and your child. He or she can also represent you if the state moves to terminate your parental rights.

Do you have a permanency hearing coming up? Williams Law Group, LLC can help ensure your rights as a parent are protected so you can have a say in where your child will live. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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