In matters involving child welfare, confidentiality is a top concern. Not only could disclosure of case information damage the parent’s reputation, but it can harm the child as well. Accordingly, New Jersey’s DCPP (formerly DYFS) maintains strict confidentiality policies to protect the identities of both children and parents. Even so, information about substance abuse, mental illness, medical conditions, domestic violence, child fatalities, and criminal cases can all potentially be exempt from these confidentiality procedures. And when DCPP involves the court in removal or termination of parental rights proceedings, some information may become a matter of public record. Keeping your DCPP case out of court requires working with the DCPP on formulating an alternative plan to keep your child safe without removal. Typically, these negotiations occur in mediation.
Child welfare mediation is a process wherein the parents, social workers, attorneys, and other interested parties come together to develop a mutually agreed upon plan. A significant benefit of mediation is that it is confidential. What is said and drafted in mediation does not become a matter of public record, nor must the mediator or the parent disclose mediation communications. Mediation has numerous other potential benefits, including reducing the time the parent is in litigation, reducing the need for foster placement, and improving compliance with required services.
Although mediation proceedings are largely confidential, the agreed upon plan becomes a matter of DCPP case record. Also, parents should understand the mediator needs information about the case to prepare for the mediation. Mediators are neutral third parties. They lack decision-making power and will have no authority in your case. That being said, the more information your mediator has, the better he or she can help steer you and the other participants to mutually acceptable solutions.
Child welfare mediation has saved many families from the trauma of child welfare litigation and removals. But to reach an agreement with DCPP social workers, you will likely need a skilled and compassionate New Jersey child welfare defense attorney by your side every step of the way. Find an attorney who has your best interests in mind and who can fight for an arrangement that you can manage, protects your child, and, most importantly, appeases the DCPP.
If you are facing allegations of child neglect, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced child neglect defense attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you navigate your child neglect case fearlessly. 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 email@example.com, 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.