Give and Take
The state child welfare agency has the right to do what it takes to protect children from abuse and neglect. Many people assume this means the child must be removed from the home and placed in foster care. But in the majority of cases, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) is required to work with parents to develop a safety plan that will keep the child safe in the home. Parents have a right to change their behaviors or make their home safer for the child, and the DCP&P can only take alternative action if the parents cannot make these changes.
This is a joint effort. The DCP&P is legally required to make reasonable efforts to work with parents to keep the child in the home. In return, parents must agree to the safety plan voluntarily and must follow it. Some parents don’t know what their rights are during this process, and this can result in unfair demands on the parents or the parent’s rights being violated.
Knowing How to Assert Your Rights
Working with the DCP&P on a safety plan for your child can be intimidating. The DCP&P has already identified risks in your home, and your child could be taken from you if you don’t agree to follow the plan. If you are in this situation, consider speaking with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney. The safety plan process is one of negotiation. You have a right to know what is expected of you as well as the reasoning behind those expectations. It is not uncommon for the DCP&P to include unreasonable requirements in the safety plan. It is difficult for case workers to know the exact scope of the safety concerns or exactly what the parents will need to do to keep the child safe. The resulting situation is one where the parents are being asked to cover all bases, make dramatic changes, and essentially jump through hoops just to keep their child. Some of the requirements may not be necessary, but to determine if the safety plan is feasible or not, you should secure the assistance of an attorney to defend your rights.
If you have questions about child protection investigations, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you with your child welfare case, making sure your child’s best interests are protected and your rights as a parent 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 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.