Visitation Rights in DCP&P Cases NJ
DYFS Defense in Jersey City, New Jersey
If you are involved with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency and the DCP&P has taken custody of your child, you are most likely entitled to have visitation with your child. Only in rare circumstances can the Division outright prohibit you from visitation. The regulations regarding visitation are aimed to ensure that each child placed by the Division in out-of-home placement shall have the opportunity to visit with parents, siblings, and interested relatives because visits serve to reinforce the child’s identity, promote the child’s need for stability, maintain or establish family relationships, assess the parents’ motivation and ability to care for the child, provide an opportunity to model appropriate parenting behavior and skills, and facilitate the case goal of return home. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.1 (a). If DCP&P has custody of your child, you should discuss the parameters of your visitation plan with an experienced DCP&P attorney who is knowledgeable of the regulations relating to your visitation rights and your visitation plan. We represent clients throughout Hudson County NJ including in West New York, Weehawken, Secaucus, Jersey City, and Kearny. Contact our offices anytime for a free initial consultation at (908)-356-6900.
Visitation Rights in DCP&P Cases NJ
In general, “the frequency and duration of visits are dependent on the purpose of the visits, the case goal and case plan and practical considerations of all parties. Visits that are frequent and long in duration are beneficial for most children placed in out-of-home placement and achieving a case goal that establishes permanency.” N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.1(b). “Unless otherwise limited, for most children…the goal is to hold a visit every week for a period as long in duration as possible.” N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.1(b).
A written visitation plan is to be provided to the parent outlining the duration, frequency and location of the visitation. A written visitation plan shall be developed to identify the type and frequency of visits and the visitation plan may exclude specific persons from having visits, shall give full consideration to the child’s safety, and shall include visits with siblings, if any, separately or with the parent. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.4. The visitation plan for the first visit shall be developed as soon as possible and the visitation plan for ongoing visits shall be completed within five working days of the initial date of placement. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.5. As part of the visitation plan, “visits shall take place in the least restrictive, most comfortable setting possible. For example, visits may take place in the home of the parents, relatives or friends or in other suitable locations.” N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.9 (a). “Visits may also take place in the out-of-home placement, with the out-of-home placement provider’s permission.” N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.9 (b). “Visits may take place in a Division office when necessary to protect the child, for the convenience of those participating in the visit, or when other suitable locations are not available. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.9 (c). The Division shall provide the parent with a copy of the written visitation plan. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.6.
Visits may occur on an unsupervised or supervised basis. In fact, unless the Division or the Court finds a need for supervision, visits shall be unsupervised. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.10 (a). Reasons to require supervision may include: facilitating interactions between the parent and child, modeling positive parenting behavior, mediating conflict between the parent and child, and providing protection of the child. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.10 (c). Family members, friends, or third-party contracted agencies may provide supervision with the agreement of all parties. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.11 (a) and (b). A DCP&P representative may also supervise visitation if necessary to protect the child, if supervision is necessary and there is no other appropriate supervisor or of there is not enough information to determine that supervision is not needed. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.11 (c).
The first visit between the parent and child shall be scheduled to occur as soon as possible, within five working days of the date of initial placement. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.14 (a)(1). When a visit is missed, due to the supervisor or Division representative not being able to attend, the visit “shall be rescheduled whenever and as soon as possible.” N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.14 (a)(6). A reduction to the visitation schedule may occur if the visitation will be physically or psychologically harmful to the child even with supervision because of an observation of harm during visitation, a mental health therapist’s recommendation, a pending investigation that the child has been harmed by the visitor, or the child’s report of a harmful situation. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.15 (a)(1). Visits may also be reduced at the child’s request when the case goal is not reunification or if the parent makes the request. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.15 (a)(2) and (3). In addition, if a parent is chronically absent from visits or if a parent appears intoxicated during a visit, the Division may cancel visitation. N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.15 (a) (4) and (5).
Hudson County DCP&P Defense Lawyers Near You
If the Division of Child Protection and permanency takes custody of your child, you should insist on immediately establishing a written visitation plan and commencing visitation as soon as possible. In addition, you should contact a knowledgeable DCP&P defense attorney to discuss your case and who is familiar with the regulations controlling your visitation rights. Contact our office now for immediate assistance at (908)-356-6900. The initial consulation is always provided free of charge.