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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

G. Section 4: Related Legal Matters

 

Section 4: Table of Contents

The Child Placement Review Board (CPRB)

The Child Placement Review Board (CPRB) is a group of volunteers who review cases of children in foster care. The CPRB gathers information about the parents; the visitation schedule; the status of relative searches; the children's vital information, as well as educational and medical background; and the services provided by DYFS. The CPRB reports the information gathered and makes recommendations to the judge. If your child has been removed from you, the CPRB in your county should review your case within 45 days of your child’s removal. Parents, foster parents, and other interested people are allowed to attend the CPRB hearing to present their views. If you have a court case going on at the same time, the CPRB hearing will take place in addition to the court hearing. If you voluntarily placed your child with DYFS, the CPRB will have additional reviews of your case, including an annual review focused on permanency (return home, adoption, or other permanent outcomes for the child).

You should attend all CPRB hearings about your child, and ask your lawyer to come with you, if possible. DYFS makes written reports to the CPRB members in each case. You and your lawyer should ask to see the report before your hearing, so that you can respond to what DYFS is saying about you. You should give the CPRB copies of reports or other papers you want the CPRB to see.

After reading DYFS’ report and any papers you provide and listening to the people who come to the hearing, the CPRB will make recommendations to the judge about what should happen in your case. You and your lawyer should get a copy of the CPRB’s recommendations in the mail. You should let the judge know, in writing, if you disagree with the recommendations. The judge may hold a hearing before deciding whether to approve the recommendations. If no objections are submitted, the judge will addess the CPRB recommendations at the next court hearing.

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DYFS administrative substantiation of abuse or neglect

In addition to bringing this court case against you, DYFS may make its own finding that you abused or neglected your child. If, after investigating your situation, DYFS decides that you abused or neglected your child, it will notify you that it has substantiated abuse or neglect. This administrative substantiation of abuse or neglect can have negative consequences for you. DYFS will place your name in the New Jersey Child Abuse Registry, which contains names of people who have been determined by DYFS or a court to have abused or neglected children. Being on this registry will prevent you from getting or keeping certain jobs that involve caring for children or people who are disabled or elderly. It can also prevent you from becoming a foster or adoptive parent. In addition, DYFS will let the local and state police know about the abuse or neglect.

If you do not agree with the substantiation of abuse or neglect, and you are not a defendant in a child abuse or neglect case that is in court, you should appeal it by contacting the office identified in the notice you receive from DYFS within 20 days. Or your caseworker should be able to help you start an appeal. If you are involved in a child abuse or neglect court case, you should inform your attorney of the abuse or neglect substantiation. You are entitled to see any reports on which DYFS is basing its decision. You are also entitled to a hearing before the Office of Administrative Law. After that hearing, an administrative law judge will make recommendations and the director of DYFS will make a final decision. If you lose your case, you can appeal to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

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Child support

If your child is in foster care, your county welfare agency may file a child support action against you on behalf of DYFS. Or relatives or friends caring for your child may seek child support from you. Do not ignore notices about a child support action against you. If you do not go to court, the judge may set a child support amount that is too high for you to pay. You may be jailed for contempt of court if you do not pay the support.

Child support payments are based on your income. When you go to court in a child support case, bring proof of your income. If you are receiving public assistance (such as welfare or SSI), bring proof of that with you. Public assistance payments do not count as income in figuring out how much child support you must pay.

If your child support order is too high because it was entered when you were not in court or because something has changed since it was entered, try to get it reduced. Go to the family court and tell them you want to file a motion to change your child support order. If you are not given a date for a hearing at that time, the court will notify you by mail when to come for the hearing.

At the modification hearing, a hearing officer will review your case. You will need to explain your reasons for asking that the order be reduced. If you have lost your job and can not find another one, are in a full-time treatment program, or are now disabled and can not work, explain your situation. If you missed the hearing in your case, tell the hearing officer why you missed it.

The hearing officer will make a recommendation to the judge about whether to change your child sup port order and, if so, by how much. If you are not satisfied with the hearing officer’s recommendation, you can request a new hearing be fore a judge. If there is no challenge to the recommendation, a judge will usually sign an order
accepting the hearing officer’s recommendation.

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Welfare

If you were receiving welfare before your child was removed, you will lose your benefits. Or, if you still have a child at home, your benefits will be lowered. If you lose your welfare benefits, you will also lose your Medicaid benefits. However, you can apply at your county or municipal welfare agency for General Assistance, which also provides medical benefits. You may also be eligible for food stamps and Emergency Assistance for housing. Ask your welfare agency about all of these programs.


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Copyright © 2011 Legal Services of New Jersey

This information last reviewed 10/28/11

 

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