Monday, July 22, 2013

When DCPP is in Your Life but Your Chlld is Home:Care and Supervision Cases

When DCPP (formerly DYFS) substantiates an allegation of abuse or neglect against a parent after an investigation, the Division may choose to remove your child without a Court Order and schedule an emergent hearing within two court days.  That hearing is called a "Dodd" Hearing and I discuss those hearings in my earlier posts. 

Sometimes, though DCPP determines that although it has concerns, those concerns are not serious enough to require the Division to remove your child.  Or perhaps the Division did request removal, but your lawyer was able to convince the judge that the situation that the most serious problems leading to the removal have been addressed, or can be addressed if a relative agrees to move into the home to supervise.  Or the offending parent may choose to temporarily leave the home to allow the child to return to the other parent.  In many cases, the Court will reunited a child with a parent after the child has spent months in foster care or with a relative.   In those situations, a Judge will usually keep a case open for "care and supervision" that the even though it is safe for a child to come home.   In these situations, the Division does not have or keep custody of your child, but stays involved with your family.  We refer to these cases as "care and supervision" cases.

Although nobody likes to have the Division involved in their life, obviously, any parent would prefer to have his or her child at home during the court case, especially after working hard to address the problems that led to the Division's involvement. However, in my experience, "care and supervision" cases can sometimes be more difficult to handle than removal cases.  Here's why:

Because of the Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA)   DCPP must present a permanency plan to the court whenever a child has been placed out of the home for one year, or 15 out of the last 22 months.    While it is true that ASFA limits the time parents have to address the issues and avoid the need for the Division to approve a plan of Termination of Parental Rights (TPR), ASFA's time limits ensure that at a certain point, a plan will be presented and achieved for children who remain outside the home.

"Care and Supervision' cases are different.  Once the Judge returns your child home, there is no similar rule that limits the amount of time your case will remain in court.   I have found some of these case to be very frustrating because it seems the court will not dismiss until the child turns 18!

In my previous posts I have discussed things that parents can do to achieve success in a DCPP case.   Some of my tips are especially helpful if your children are with you and you want to achieve a dismissal of your case.

Remember, just because a Judge has determined your that your child can live with you does not mean everything is OK.  DCPP and the court will be watching out for any problems, and if you do not comply with court orders and cooperate with the Division, the Division can recommend removal at any time - and the Judge might agree.  Your lawyer wants to advocate very hard for you to get your "Care and Supervision" case dismissed - but your actions and your compliance will ultimately determine if and when the Judge decides that you can parent without the court's supervision.

1 comment:

  1. I see nothing online like what happened to me. My child was removed with no danger and NO efforts required to try to avoid as law requires. for that and much else we will be filing a federal lawsuit.4th 14th amendment violations as well as ADA