Who Has Authority?
The family court becomes involved in many child welfare cases with New Jersey’s CPS agency, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P). Whenever a child is removed from the home, the agency must seek court approval. This opens up a court case, after which point the State becomes a party to the case. The courts must also be involved when the agency seeks to terminate parental rights. The court is the only authority that can authorize decisions that affect your parental rights.
Who Becomes Involved?
If you are involved with the DCP&P, and it does not decide to remove your child from your home, it does not necessarily need to involve the court. If you voluntarily agree to the safety plan the agency provides you to keep your child at home—and you follow that plan—your case does not need to go to court. If you refuse to sign or follow the safety plan or otherwise give the agency cause to take your child away, the court will need to be involved.
Involving the court isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In court you will have the chance to tell your side of the story and have a third-party—the judge—decide what is best for your child. These types of family court cases are kept largely confidential, and you have a right to an attorney whenever facing court proceedings involving your child’s placement and your parental rights.
Involving the court complicates any child welfare case, but there may be ways you can limit the court’s involvement. One way is to follow the safety plan given to you. But don’t wait until you head to court to seek the advice of an attorney. Whenever facing allegations of child abuse, you should consult with an experienced New Jersey child abuse defense attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can advise you of your rights and the laws that protect them. An attorney can also tell you what you need to do to keep your case out of court, if possible, and help you defend yourself and your family in court if needed.
If you are facing allegations of child abuse or neglect, the Williams Law Group is here to help. The experienced child abuse defense attorneys at Williams Law Group can help you face your allegations. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.