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Family and Relationships

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Home Page > Family and Relationships > Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) > Child Abuse and Neglect

B. Introduction


When children are placed in foster care, there are limits on how much time parents have to get them returned home. You will need to act quickly to do everything you can to get your child back home.

You have the right to get a lawyer to represent you in your case and should get one as soon as you get court papers from DYFS.

In most cases, DYFS is required to provide services to help you and your family get back together. It is important to get the help that you need right away. Within one year of the time your child goes into placement, DYFS must decide whether your child can be returned to you. If DYFS believes that your child cannot go home at that time, it must make a plan for your child to live someplace else on a permanent basis. The court will decide whether to approve DYFS’ plan.

In many cases, DYFS will plan to try and terminate your parental rights so that your child can be adopted. If the court agrees that your child cannot be returned to you and approves DYFS’ plan to file for termination of parental rights, DYFS must file another court case. It must file that case within 15 months of the time your child went into foster care. If your parental rights are terminated and your child is adopted, you and your child can only stay in contact if the adoptive parents permit it.

This handbook will help you understand the things you must do to try to reunite with your child as soon as possible.

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Copyright © 2011 Legal Services of New Jersey

This information last reviewed 10/28/11


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