If child welfare workers took your child from your home, you might be feeling helpless and scared. Your first instinct is to do whatever you can to get your child back. But knowing what to do first can be difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with how the child welfare system operates in New Jersey. Taking the right first steps can help you get your child back sooner. While you should always speak with an attorney when dealing with a child welfare case, here are a few steps you should take right away:
Ask Where Your Child Is Going
The child welfare workers should ask if you have any close friends or family members who can care for your child temporarily. In most cases, placing the child with friends or family is preferred over foster placement. Call around, and try to find a place where your child can stay and be comfortable.
Call an Attorney
If your child has been taken from your home, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), New Jersey’s child welfare agency, will already have a court order or be pursuing one immediately. The order allows child welfare workers to remove your child from the home. At this point, you need to speak with an attorney about your rights and how to defend them. An attorney can also explain how the child welfare process continues from that point, and knowing what to expect can give you peace of mind.
Stay Involved in the Investigation
The DCP&P will investigate your case before making any final decisions on the permanent placement of your child. Stay involved, discuss your rights with an attorney, and work with the DCP&P on developing a safety plan so your child can come back home. Regardless of whether you feel the case workers are on your side, it is important to be involved and contribute information to the investigation that will help the DCP&P make the best decision for your child.
Don’t Agree With Any Decisions You Aren’t Comfortable With
You have a right to disagree with some of the decisions the DCP&P makes. You can appeal decisions such as a substantiated findings or about services the DCP&P wants you to use. You deserve a chance to work with your case workers on devising a safety plan so your child can come back home, but some of the requests they make may be unreasonable. That is why it is so important to speak with an attorney about your rights before you agree to any decisions or requests.
Are you involved in a child welfare case and don’t know what to do? The attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC know how important your child’s safety is and will help you work with the DCP&P to get your child returned to you as soon as possible. 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 so you can work with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.