Preference and Priority
State child welfare agencies that receive federal funds are mandated by the federal government to consider preferentially placing a child with an adult relative as opposed to a nonrelative caregiver. Many experts contend it is better for children to be in the care of relatives when removed from their homes. Many children still end up in foster placement, however, when appropriate adult relatives aren’t available. If you are concerned about your child’s well being, you may be wondering what New Jersey’s child welfare agency (the Division of Protection and Permanency (DCP&P)) must do when attempting to place a child with relatives before being placed with foster families. It’s important to understand these actions because you will play an instrumental role in helping the DCP&P place your child with relatives.
In most child welfare cases, caseworkers do not remove the child from the home. In cases where a child is in immediate danger of harm, however, caseworkers may temporarily place the child with another family. If caseworkers remove your child, provide them with the names and contact information of relatives whom they can contact. You may want to enlist the help of an experienced attorney at this point as it can be difficult to provide the right information to the caseworkers to ensure they place your child with a trusted relative caregiver.
Though the DCP&P must first consider placing the child with an adult relative, all resources families (i.e. foster families) must become a licensed resource family whether they are relatives of the child or not. The licensing process entails resource family training, psychosocial evaluations, home studies, and thorough background checks on all adults in the household. You should consider these steps when identifying relatives with whom your child can be placed.
Speak with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney if you have questions about family placement for your child. The statutory language on foster placement is not exact, and caseworkers from the DCP&P can easily overlook appropriate placement options for your child. An attorney can help you work with the DCP&P on placing your child with a trusted family member so you can gain peace of mind.
Do you need to place your child with friends or family? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can help ensure your child is placed with a trusted family so you can have peace of mind. 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.