Families in Crisis: Coping When Your Child Is in Foster Care

Families in Crisis: Coping When Your Child Is in Foster CareA Difficult Time

A parent’s worst nightmare is watching CPS take their child way to live with a foster family. New Jersey’s CPS agency (DCPP) will put children in foster placement if they are at imminent risk of harm in the home. And while foster placement is meant to be short-term, many children can spend months and potentially even years with foster families before they can return to their family safely. During this time, it’s important not to lose hope. Instead, you should learn to cope in ways that will help facilitate reunification with your child.

How to Cope

Visiting with your child is the most important thing you can do to help you and your child cope. Caseworkers must work with you and your child’s resource family (i.e. foster family) to schedule frequent visitations. The DCPP must facilitate continued contact between you and your child, so it’s important to insist you have frequent visitation. This period of separation can be challenging to overcome without visitation.

Stay Involved

Even if your child isn’t living with you, you can still stay involved in their life by asking questions, encouraging communication, and reminding your child you love him or her. Try to maintain normal interactions with your child. Though they may be in the presence of your child’s foster family or otherwise supervised, this is your time to be a parent, so take advantage of it.

Look Into Reunification Therapy

After prolonged periods in foster placement, children may need specialized therapy to cope with reunification. After periods of separation, all family members can benefit from reunification therapy that addresses some of the common issues that arise during reunification. This is a family effort.

Be Proactive

If your child is in foster placement, you might be working with CPS on bringing him or her home. You may have to go to counseling, complete safety assessments or classes, or go through a drug treatment program. Make sure you fully participate in your case plan. But don’t hesitate to speak with a child abuse defense attorney if you feel your case plan or safety plan are unreasonable or not in your child’s best interests. Reducing the scope of what DCPP requires of you can help ensure you are successful, which can facilitate reunification.

Be Patient

It’s hard to know when your child can come back home. DCPP caseworkers might not keep you informed on the progress of your case, and the conditions of your case plan may take some time to meet. Some children are in foster placement for many months, as both the parents and the DCPP must complete several steps before reunification can occur. Try to be patient during this time, and, again, work with an attorney if you suspect your case plan is unreasonable or unnecessary.

Coping when your child is in foster placement is a matter of finding ways to continuing being his or her parent. While you’ll face some difficulties while your child is away, keeping your child’s best interests in mind in everything you do will improve your chance of bringing your child back home.

Do you need the help of a New Jersey child abuse defense attorney? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help you protect your rights and your family. 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 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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