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Separate And Unequal: Are children of unmarried parents disadvantaged by Summary Procedures in Non-Dissolution Actions?

Separate And Unequal: Are children of unmarried parents disadvantaged by Summary Procedures in Non-Dissolution Actions? By Allison C. Williams, Esq. The New Jersey Family Court system has a stellar reputation throughout the United States for its progressive approach to many issues that plague families in this state. Our Court system has established many different case types to deal with family...

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TOP TEN DYFS (DCPP) CASES TO KNOW

TOP TEN DYFS (DCPP) CASES TO KNOW By Allison C. Williams, Esq. 1. In re Guardianship of Cope, 106 N.J.Super. 336 (App.Div.1969) –Establishes the conditions required in order to admit hearsay evidence through caseworker testimony in a DYFS (DCPP) proceeding. In DYFS (DCPP) proceedings, evidence upon which judgment is based must be as reliable as the circumstances permit and the answering parent...

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DYFS (DCPP) and Adoption Practice

This article is designed to provide a brief overview of how children may become freed for adoption when New Jersey’s child welfare agency, the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS (DCPP)), is involved. Child welfare law continues to be an evolving area of the law. In 2010, the Appellate Division published 17 Decisions involving Title 9 and Title 30 litigation. These cases are all very...

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An Example of the Child Welfare Runaway Train

Below is link to an article demonstrating what happens when there are no checks and balances on the State’s inordinate power to remove children from their families. http://www.policestateusa.com/2013/justina-pelletier-custody-battle/” title=”Parents lose custody of teen after seeking 2nd medical...

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. Click here to see the complete...

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Scientific Bases (or lack thereof) of Psychological Evaluation Data

Ever notice how psychologists in child welfare cases testify?  Their opinions are usually stated within a reasonable degree of psychological certainty.  But are they?  Do the psychologists’ opinion critically examine alternative theories or hypotheses?  Do they confirm that the diagnoses rendered and their consequential alleged impact upon parenting are generally accepted in the...

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Allison C. Williams presents to the Haydn Proctor Inns of Court

On December 4, 2013, Allison C. Williams will be presenting to the Haydn Proctor Inns of Court. The presentation topic will be Substance Abuse and the Family Law Client. This issue greatly impacts our society. Many assumptions are made about addiction and parenting that cause difficulty for family court judges. Should addiction cause an immediate removal of children? When is excessive alcohol...

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Extraordinary Power of Division Caseworkers

A child welfare parent defense attorney colleague recently shared with us an article out of Seattle, Washington. The termination of a mother’s parental rights was reversed on appeal. One of many infirmities with the trial Court’s opinion was that the mother was less than pleasant to her agency caseworker. Specifically, the Appellate Court held: “While [the mother] had a duty to...

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Do Parents’ Opinions Matter?

When the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) removes a child from the custody of a parent, the agency is entrusted with locating an appropriate placement for the child. That placement can be with relatives or non-relative resource caregivers. When concerns of abuse or neglect occur in placement, the allegations are investigated by the Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit (IAIU)....

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“Erring on the Side of Caution” is still Erring

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a judge about my most recent publication, “Play by the Rules”, an article which examines the court rules and statutory requirements where abuse or neglect is alleged by a parent or guardian versus the agency. The judge and I got into an intellectual debate about the role of judges in these cases. He suggested to me that judges are well...

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