If you feel confused, disrespected, and uninformed in your CPS case, you are not alone. Without guidance, many parents can experience a CPS nightmare when their case becomes complicated, or other barriers get in the way of reunification. Fortunately, you can gain control of your case by following these steps.
A primary cause when cases turn into CPS “nightmares” is lack of communication. New Jersey’s CPS agency, the DCPP (formerly the DYFS) is known for inefficiently handling cases and overworking caseworkers. When this occurs, the parent often struggles to get answers to their questions and concerns. Over time, this can turn into a traumatic ordeal. Many parents have felt helpless and as if their case was entirely out of their control, after which they may become less diligent with their case plans if they don’t see any results. At this point, parents begin to look at DCPP as the enemy. And I agree; when caseworkers are no longer on your side, it’s time to find an advocate.
Improving communication can be difficult for a parent to do on his or her own. Caseworkers have limited time in which to contact parents and answer their questions. But when questions and concerns go unaddressed, case progress can slow; prolonging the time a child is in foster placement and putting the parent’s rights at risk.
Working with an attorney is a good way to combat lack of communication and gain control of your case. The reason for this is simple; attorneys can serve as an amplifier of your voice. If you feel you aren’t being listened to or acknowledged, an attorney can step in and make sure the workers on your case are doing everything they should be to reunify your family or otherwise help you achieve success.
You may also lose control of your case quickly if you are unable to adhere to your safety and protection plan. The DCPP does not give you much time to address the problems it identifies before it resorts to removal. Moreover, if you need different kinds of services to address those problems, it can be a battle to get referrals. It’s important to speak up as soon as you can if you need help. An attorney can help you do this without raising any red flags with DCPP. Talk to your caseworkers and your case manager, but also consult with an attorney to get their opinion on the matter. If you can’t follow your safety and protection plan, DCPP can remove your child within a matter of weeks or even days, after which point it can be very difficult to get him or her back. Contact an attorney to see what you might be able to do before that occurs.
Many parents may also feel a loss of control over their case when DCPP commences Title 30 proceedings for termination of parental rights. While this doesn’t happen overnight, once those proceedings begin, many parents panic and don’t feel like they have any leverage anymore. Most fear there is nothing they can do at that point, as the “system” is difficult to beat. While it’s true that DCPP must adhere to policy when it comes to duration of foster placement and when to begin litigation, an attorney might be able to help you turn your case around. But these cases are very fact-specific, and each one is unique. The specific struggles you face and the circumstances of your case will greatly influence your options at every point in your case. It’s best to involve a New Jersey child abuse defense attorney early on in your case to ensure you maintain control from the beginning.
If you are dealing with the DCPP in New Jersey, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced child abuse defense attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you defend your rights and protect your privacy. Located in Short Hills, 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 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.