The DCPP (formerly the DYFS), New Jersey’s CPS agency, has the power to remove children from their homes and put them in foster placement. Typically, DCPP will try to place children with relatives before they resort to traditional foster families. Relatives who assume the caretaking responsibilities of the children may also be given certain rights. DCPP has the authority to place children with relatives. But it’s the family court that can grant relatives legal rights dependent on the commitment the relative is prepared to make.
Foster placement is meant to be short-term, even when with relatives. If a relative wishes to care for the child, he or she must take steps to become a licensed New Jersey foster parent. Like any foster parent, relatives who become licensed will have the right to be involved in the case plan of the child in their care. They also have a right to services and potentially financial assistance for board and clothing to help meet the child’s needs. Foster parents, however, do not have all the same rights as the child’s birth parents, who remain the child’s legal parent.
A relative can also make a permanent legal commitment to care for the child. In this case, DCPP can ask the court to grant the relative kinship legal guardianship. Kinship legal guardianship gives the relative the same caregiving rights and responsibilities as the birth parent. The legal relationship between a kinship legal guardian and a child continues until the child turns 18 unless the court orders it to terminate before then. Kinship legal guardianship differs from a traditional foster family arrangement, as it is more permanent. Kinship legal guardians do not assume all parental rights and cannot consent to change of name or adoption.
If you are a relative seeking legal rights or a parent involved with DCPP, you should speak with an attorney. To make the best decision for the child in question, you need to explore your options and learn about your rights. A seasoned New Jersey child welfare and child custody attorney can make sure the DCPP makes an informed decision about the placement of your child, making sure your child is in good hands. And, if your child is placed with relatives, an attorney can help your relatives take steps to obtain the legal rights they need to care for your child properly.
If you need an experienced child welfare attorney in New Jersey, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The seasoned child welfare and child custody attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you protect your child’s best interests. 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.