New Jersey’s child protective services agency (DCP&P) must make efforts to keep a family together before considering putting the child in foster placement. But how are those efforts made? What specifically will caseworkers do to keep a family together? These questions are important to ask because they can help parents better protect their rights and their family when facing child abuse or neglect allegations.
If caseworkers believe a child is not at imminent risk of harm in the home, they must create a voluntary safety plan with the parent(s). The safety plan addresses the specific issues the caseworkers believe are putting the child at risk of harm. The plan is the first effort in keeping a family together. Typically, a safety plan will include services for the parents to help them keep their child safe and other things for the family to do to mitigate the risk of harm. But every family situation is different, so every safety plan is different.
Policy dictates that DCP&P must commence litigation if a parent cannot correct the safety issues addressed in the plan in ten days. If a child is still at risk of harm in the home after ten days, caseworkers may remove the child or seek approval of a removal. After removal, caseworkers must work with the parents on a case plan with the goal of reunification. Again, the specific facts and circumstances of each case dictate what these plans include and what support and services caseworkers provide for the parents.
The time DCP&P gives you to correct the problems they see as safety issues is limited. When you consider how involved safety plans can be, it’s easy to see how a parent may not be able to meet the demands of caseworkers in those ten days. Understandably, many parents face the worse because they are unable to jump through the hoops the DCP&P sets up because of lack of support or resources.
If you are that position, it’s crucial you speak with an experienced New Jersey child abuse defense attorney right away. An attorney can help you get the support and resources you need to eliminate the safety issues or negotiate with the DCP&P on a more appropriate safety plan. If you do go into litigation, an attorney can defend your rights, inform you of the rights of your child, and help you fight to have your family whole again.
Child abuse investigations are stressful, but the knowledgeable attorneys at the Williams Law Group have the experience needed to defend your rights as a parent and protect your child’s best interests. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group 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.