Child welfare case planning meetings are conferences where a team of individuals involved in the life of a child sits down to discuss how to place the child in a permanent and safe home. In the meetings, the team identifies the best course of action and sets achievement goals. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to attend these meetings and contribute. But attending these meetings without preparing can do more harm than good. Case planning meetings are not innocuous; what you say can hurt you and jeopardize your chance of reunification with your child.
Without legal guidance, it can be easy for a parent to say things in the meetings that the case planning team, typically comprised of caseworkers, case supervisors, and others from the child welfare agency, may interpret as poor parenting or an unwillingness to make the changes being asked of you. The team may ask you what you need help with, and while that can help them recommend appropriate services for you, it can also lead them to question your readiness for reunification.
For example, you may be asked about your progress in making the changes that you’ve been asked to make. Many things can complicate your ability to make those changes, especially if they are unreasonable or overwhelmingly demanding. In answering, you should be aware that what you say can hurt your chance of or delay your reunification with your child. You will need to answer in a way that informs the team, helps them connect you with services you genuinely need but doesn’t suggest weakness or an inability to meet the demands of the plan.
These meetings are crucial. Make sure you protect your best interests by not providing any information that could be detrimental. Consider working with an experienced child welfare attorney if you have case planning meetings to attend. An attorney can help you prepare for the meetings by advising you on what you should say and how you should say it, thus protecting your best interests and those of your child. Your case plan may become a court order, which you will need to follow. An attorney can protect your rights by ensuring unwarranted requests aren’t made of you and serve as your advocate so you can contribute without jeopardizing your case.
Do you have questions about child welfare case planning? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can prepare you for your case planning meetings and ensure your rights are defended. 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 email@example.com, 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.