Substance Abuse and Safety Plans
New Jersey’s child welfare agency—the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P)—frequently asks parents under investigation to take drug tests. Even if you have no history of substance abuse, you could be asked to submit to random drug tests. But caseworkers can only test you for drug use if you provide consent. You have a right to refuse to take a test, but whether that’s a good idea or not will depend on the specifics of your case.
If you have a substance abuse problem, you can expect your safety plan to include periodic and on-going drug tests. Like the rest of your safety plan, you need to take the drug tests to be in compliance. While caseworkers cannot force you to take a drug test, they may take action against you if you refuse. Refusing to comply with drug testing—or failing to pass a drug test—could be grounds for putting your child in foster placement. The DCP&P may also seek a court order that would require you to submit to a drug test.
You will most likely have to take—and pass—at least one drug test before your child can come home. But many parents experience extended periods of separation from their child even after testing clean. It can be difficult to get your child back and the DCP&P out of your life if you have a substance abuse problem. The drug testing is just one step in getting your child back. Caseworkers may also require you to undergo evaluation, participate in a treatment program, and be subject to monitoring for some time.
Where to Turn for Help
If you have a substance abuse problem and are involved with the DCP&P, you should speak with an attorney. It’s important to understand your rights before you agree to anything, sign anything, or talk to anyone. An attorney can advise you of those rights and help you navigate your case step by step. Your goal should be complying with the DCP&P while still protecting your rights. Working with an experienced New Jersey child welfare defense attorney can ensure you meet the requirements of your safety protection plan and get your child back as soon as possible.
Do you have questions about substance abuse and CPS involvement? The attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC can help you defend your rights throughout your case. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation so you can work with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.