Can you provide a quick overview of the DCP&P’s process?
- DCP&P files a complaint.
- You attend your preliminary hearing. The judge makes a decision about whether DCP&P has a case and whether your child needs to be placed for the immediate future.
- The next phase involves case management and a status conference.
- Depending on what has happened so far in the case, there may be a fact finding hearing or stipulations. The DCP&P will try to prove that you committed an act of abuse of neglect, and you can defend.
- A dispositional hearing takes place. If the court rules against you, the judge holds this hearing to decide next actions for you, for your child, and for the process.
- A review hearing takes place. Reviewing hearings are designed to check up you and your child to make sure that the process is in order.
- A permanency hearing decides the final outcome of the process. A permanency hearing must be held within 12 months after your child has been removed from the home and placed in foster care. During this hearing, the judge makes a decision about the child’s permanent living situation.
What services can DCP&P provide for you?
In addition to therapy — which we discussed in detail in earlier blog posts — DCP&P offers education courses for caregivers, home healthcare, daycare, alcohol and drug abuse treatment and emergency housing. You also may be able to qualify for assistance with emergency housing or money for a security deposit or rent from DCP&P’s emergency fund.
What if DCP&P refuses to provide services that you actually want?
You can ask the judge to order DCP&P to provide these services and appeal if denied.
If your child is going to be removed from your custody, can you ask that he or she stay with friends or local family members?
Yes. Tell DCP&P about these options, as the agency won’t necessarily know about them. DCP&P must search for relatives with whom to place the child, but you should make it easy for them. Only offer relatives with no criminal background or child abuse history.
For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.