Your Rights as a Parent
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) is New Jersey’s child welfare agency, sometimes referred to as CPS (“Child Protective Services”). The DCP&P can remove children from their homes if the caseworkers believe they are in immediate danger of abuse or neglect. Dealing with the DCP&P can be very intimidating, especially if you feel your rights have been violated. While the DCP&P does have the authority to take your child from the home, there are steps you can take to get your child back. You still have rights even if your child was taken from you, and learning how to exercise those rights should be your first step.
If your child is taken from you by DCP&P caseworkers, you have the right to:
- Know why your child was taken
- Know what is expected of you and your child
- Know what services the DCP&P can provide for you and your family, and
- Disagree with and appeal decisions made by the DCP&P
If your child is removed from your home without a court order, the DCP&P must file a complaint with the court, which initiates a series of hearings. At any time when DCP&P is in Court against you, you can file an application to have your child returned to you. At the removal hearing, this will involve a hearing during which the DCP&P must prove removal was necessary to keep your child safe. If your child is not returned at that time, you may seek the child’s return at any other proceeding, at which your child shall be returned if his health and safety are not at risk in so doing. You can also request your child be placed with a relative pending the resolution of the case. The litigation process can be lengthy, and your first step should be either having your child returned to you or placed in the care of someone you trust.
Even before you or the DCP&P involves the court, it is in your best interests to consult with an attorney. If your child is taken from you by child protective services, you need to have a good plan of action. The child welfare case process can be intimidating, and your most important rights, those of a parent, are at stake. In this situation, your first step should be learning about your rights. Then you can decide what is best for you and your family. To do this, speak with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney about your case. An attorney can advise you of your rights in your specific situation and help you decide what your next step should be. Working with a knowledgeable attorney during this trying time can help you make the right choices for your family so you can be reunited with your child as soon as possible.
If you have questions about what to do after your child is taken from you, Williams Law Group, LLC can assist you. The skilled attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC will help you navigate the child welfare case process while defending your rights. 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 and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.