New Jersey DYFS Permanency Hearing Attorneys
Hopefully, your lawyer did a great job and you will never see a Permanency Hearing. However, even the best lawyer cannot always prevent one. A Permanency Hearing must be held if your child is in foster care or another out-of-home placement and nearly a year has gone by. Of course, if the court decided that DYFS did not have to help you reunify your family, a Permanency Hearing will be held much sooner. At the Permanency Hearing, DYFS will present a plan for a permanent living situation for your child, and the court will decide whether or not to approve that plan. DYFS may recommend any of the following:
- Returning the child to you in the near future;
- Filing a case to terminate your rights to the child so that the child can be adopted;
- Placing the child in the custody of a relative or friend;
- Having the child's current caretakers become kinship legal guardians (where caretakers assume legal responsibility for the child; however, parental rights are not terminated); or
- Placing the child in long-term foster care.
Your lawyer should be prepared to present an alternative plan for your child. For example, your lawyer can request that the court allow your child to live with a specific relative or family friend. Or your lawyer can ask that the child's caretakers become kinship legal guardians so that your parental rights are not terminated. Also at the Permanency Hearing, DYFS must show that it made reasonable efforts to help you, unless the judge has already ruled that DYFS was not required to help you reunify with your child. Thus, it is important to get a great New Jersey DYFS lawyer from the start. Fighting DYFS requires long term planning. With the right moves, you can avoid a Permanency Hearing or your attorney can show that DYFS did not do everything they could to you reunify with your child.