As a parent, losing your child during a Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) case can be one of the most difficult experiences for you and your family. However, if your child has been removed from your care, you do have rights.
In this situation, it is crucial that you seek dedicated legal support from the lawyers at Williams Law Group. One of our experienced attorneys could advise you on DCPP child removals in Short Hills and walk you through all your legal options.
If your child was removed from your home and placed in foster care, you have a right to a hearing. A knowledgeable lawyer could help ask the Short Hills court to return your child to your custody by arguing that the Division’s concerns alleging a safety risk are not founded.
If the court does not return your child to you, you also have rights in seeing that your child is placed with a relative. DCPP is required by law to make a search for all relatives who are ready, willing, and able to take care of the child. If you have relatives who are able to take care of your child, you should offer those names to the division immediately.
It is important to note the criteria for placing a child with a relative. The family member must:
If you have a relative who wants placement of your child through DCPP but they do not have adequate space, there are ways to address this issue. First, if there is only a small variance between the required amount of space and the space that your relative has available, the court may overrule DCPP’s refusal to license the home.
Alternatively, you may ask the Division to offer financial assistance so that your relative can move. If you have adequate space in your home, you may also ask the Short Hills court to allow you to vacate your home so that your relative can move in and take custody of the child during the case.
If your child was removed and placed in foster care, the amount of visitation you are afforded varies greatly from case to case and county to county. Generally, the Division is required to give you at least one hour of supervised visitation per week.
However, if you have friends, family members, or other agencies that can supervise additional visitation, the court will typically grant this to you. Visitation is a right of the child, not just the parent, and so the child’s legal guardian will often support your request to have additional time. When in doubt, retain a skilled attorney to help ask the court for more visitations. You are much more likely to get additional time than to be denied it.
If you are accused of child abuse, either through a court trial or an administrative finding by DCPP, there are several options for removing your name from the registry.
If the Division takes you to court and accuses you of child abuse, you are entitled to a trial known as a fact-finding hearing. If you win a trial, your name comes off the DCPP registry.
If the Division does not go to court and substantiates you for child abuse, you have a right to request an administrative hearing in the Office of Administrative Law. If you win the OAL hearing, then your name will be removed from the child abuse registry, assuming the Division does not retain its original finding.
If you lose at the Office of Administrative Law or in Superior Court, or if the Division gives an administrative finding of child abuse or neglect, you can appeal to the Appellate Division. A skilled attorney could further explain these legal options for removing your name from the DCPP registry.
At the Williams Law Group, our attorneys understand how difficult it is to have your child removed from your care. If you find yourself in this situation, speak with a compassionate legal advocate who focuses on DCPP child removals in Short Hills. Your relationship with your child is important, so call today for a consultation about your circumstances.