Foster children have many rights that help protect them against injustice. One of these rights is the right to be involved in their court proceedings. It’s important for children to feel like they have a say and to contribute to the decision-making process. This can help them cope better with the difficult transition they are going through.
To ensure foster youth have a say in their case, the State of New Jersey requires all youth be given sufficient notice of all court proceedings and be provided with accommodations when needed (e.g. transportation).
Given the formality of court proceedings, it’s important to prepare kids for appearing in court. Part of the preparation involves informing them of what will happen in court and what decisions will be made. Children will be appointed an attorney who will keep them informed of their case and serve as advocates on their behalf during the proceedings. The attorney, called a law guardian, will explain what will happen in court and help the child express his or her wishes to the court.
The other part is preparing them to appear in court and conduct themselves in a manner that is respectful. Even adults can unknowingly violate the rules and guidelines of the court if they don’t know what to expect. Children should be told to listen carefully to the judge and to not answer until they are sure they understand the question. They should be encouraged to ask for clarification from their law guardian or the judge if they do not understand. If a child is having a hard time speaking in court, he or she can ask be speak to the judge in private. Children should also be told to maintain a respectful appearance, stay quiet until being asked a question, and to show up on time.
Preparing a child for court requires patience and understanding. Matters such as placement are personal and thus court proceedings could be very trying on a child, especially if he or she was not prepared. If you have questions about the rights of foster youth or child welfare proceedings, consult with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney. An attorney can help you prepare for court yourself and make sure your child has a Law Guardian who can help him or her prepare as well.
Do you have questions about court proceedings? The knowledgeable attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC can defend your rights and help you protect your child’s best interests. 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.