Custody with a Relative in New Jersey DCP&P Cases
DYFS Defense to Child Abuse or Neglect Allegations in Passaic County and NJ
Technically, DCP&P is permitted to submit only one of five available permanency plans to the Court: reunification with one or both of the biological parents, independent living, other long term specialized care, kinship legal guardianship, or termination of parental rights. But, as with most legal scenarios, there is one potential loophole that may be used to avoid any of the usual five permanency plans: legal and physical custody with a relative that is not licensed by DCP&P.
The DCP&P defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm LLC are ready and able to protect your rights, your future, your family, and your reputation if there has been a child abuse or neglect allegation. Our managing partner, Mr. Travis J. Tormey, is a top rated “10.0” perfect rating on AVVO.com, an attorney rating service. He has also received the clients choice awards in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. In addition, one of our attorneys, Brent DiMarco, has literally handled hundreds of DCP&P investigations and court proceedings in his career. He will not put that experience and expertise to work for you, drafting a comprehensive defense strategy to combat these vicious allegations. Contact our offices anytime for immediate assistance at (908)-356-6900. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge. We represent clients throughout Passaic County NJ including in North Haledon, Totowa, Woodland Park, Wayne, and Clifton.
The Sixth Possible Permanency Plan in NJ DYFS Cases
Custody of a child, in general, is not considered to be “permanent” because the Court can modify a custody arrangement at any time. Accordingly, custody with any particular person is not one of the five permanency plans that DCP&P can propose to the court. In addition, DCP&P can only endorse the placement of a child in a home that is either licensed or licensable by the Department of Children and Families Office of Licensing (“OOL”). DCP&P and OOL must adhere to strict Federal and State guidelines when determining whether or not an adult can become a licensed resource parent or licensed adoptive parent.
The licensing process includes criminal history checks, child abuse registry checks, finger printing, home inspections and resource parent training classes. Sometimes there are technicalities regarding a relative’s background or home inspection that OOL cannot ignore and, as a result, DCP&P cannot approve placing a child with that relative. For example, there are limits on the number of children who can reside in a licensed home and there are structural requirements regarding ingress and egress. In addition, DCP&P cannot place a child in a home where a known former perpetrator of child abuse or neglect resides.
Importantly, when DCP&P takes custody of a child and places the child in another home, that home receives financial assistance and the child receives Medicaid – sometimes relatives need that financial assistance and medical insurance in order to be able to care for the child. However, in other circumstances, the relative is ready, willing, and able to care for a child without any assistance from DCP&P.
The New Jersey Supreme Court determined that if a child’s best interests so dictate, that child may be placed in the home of an unlicensed or non-licensable relative but that DCP&P may not be required to provide that relative with financial assistance. Division of Child Prot. and Permanency v. K.N., 223 N.J. 530 (2015). In that case, the grandfather had an substantiation of child abuse and neglect in the Child Abuse Registry, but he was ready, willing, and able to care for his grandchild and although the Division refused to permit the child to live with the grandfather, the Court ordered that the child be placed with the grandfather regardless of the Division’s objection and inability to license the grandfather. In other words, when a relative is physically and financially capable of caring for a child, but that relative cannot be licensed, the Court may transfer custody of the child to that relative even though DCP&P cannot approve the placement.
Local Passaic County DCP&P Defense Lawyers Near Me – We can help
If the Division of Child Protection and Permanency took custody of your child, you should contact an experienced DCP&P defense lawyer to discuss the placement options for your child. Just because DCP&P may refuse to place your child in the home of a relative, the Courts may override the Division’s decision and you should be represented by a DCP&P attorney who knows how to protect your rights. Contact our offices for immediate assistance at (908)-356-6900.