The goal of the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) is to protect the wellbeing of the children in New Jersey. For this reason, the DCPP will remove children from their homes if their parents are unfit to care for them. But, this does not mean that the parents are out of their child’s life forever. One way that the parents can remain involved in their child’s life is through family team meetings.
What is a Family Team Meeting?
A family team meeting involves the DCPP, the child, family members, resource parents, and other parties that play an important role in the child’s life. During a family team meeting, these parties will work together to develop a plan that will help the family reach their long-term goals. For example, the long-term goal for most parents is to bring their children back home, so the plan often includes steps that the parents can take to earn this privilege.
How Often Do Family Team Meetings Occur?
The DCPP must conduct the initial family team meeting within 45 days after a child is removed from his home. Then, the DCPP will organize three more family team meetings within the first year of the child’s out-of-home placement. Three more team meetings will be scheduled if the child is in out-of-home placement for more than a year.
What to Expect During Family Team Meetings
The DCPP will encourage family members to share their personal stories during these meetings. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn more about the family’s unique situation. For example, parents with a history of substance abuse may use this meeting to share how their addiction has affected their lives and ability to care for their children.
After hearing each member’s story, the group will discuss the family’s strengths and weaknesses. Using this information, the group will create a step-by-step plan that the family can follow to reach their long-term goals.
Together, the group will decide how to track the family’s progress. For example, the group may suggest setting smaller, more attainable goals that the family can meet to show that they are making progress towards their larger goal. If the family can prove that they have met some of these goals at the next meeting, this proves that they are working hard to bring their family back together.
If the DCPP is investigating you, it’s in your best interests to contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our experienced attorneys will protect your rights throughout the investigation to ensure the DCPP does not overstep their boundaries. 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.