The child welfare system recognizes that in most cases it’s in the child best interests to be placed with family members instead of a foster family. Accordingly, the first step a caseworker should take after making the decision to remove the child from the home is to work with the parent on identifying a relative with whom the child can be placed. Sometimes this isn’t possible. But reasonable efforts should be made to keep the child out of foster placement, especially if there are relatives who can and are willing to provide a safe home for the child. But how does the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) involve family members in child welfare cases, and what role can a family member play?
Family-centered child welfare case planning can help identify the strengths and resources within the family that can improve the safety of the child’s home. Because the child welfare system strives to keep children connected with their families throughout the case process, relatives such as non-custodial parents and grandparents are sometimes called upon to provide a safe home. This is called kinship caregiving and is preferred over traditional foster placement. Caseworkers will contact these relatives to assess whether or not such a placement would be in the child’s best interests. If it is, and the relative is willing, the child can be placed with him or her instead of foster care, but the relative must take steps to become a licensed resource family (i.e. foster family).
Relatives can also contribute to the case process in other ways by providing support and resources to the parent under investigation. If you are a family member and a relative of yours is under investigation by the DCP&P (New Jersey’s child welfare agency), you should contact an experienced child welfare attorney. An attorney can learn about the case and explain what role you could potentially play in supporting the child and his or her parent. An attorney can also connect you with those involved in the case so you can offer your support and contribute to the efforts to find a safe place for the child to live.
Do you have a relative who is under investigation by CPS? If so, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. Our skilled attorneys can help you become involved in the case so you can offer your support or a safe place for the child to live. Located in Union, 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.