At the inception of every DYFS case, the agency will tell the parent to engage in “services” designed to remediate the condition that led to DYFS involvement. Services cannot be ordered until a court, by way of Stipulation or Fact Finding trial, makes a finding against the parent. However, parents are often urged by the Court and by defense counsel, to submit to services immediately so that, if the parent loses at trial, they will have already completed the services necessary to be reunited with their child.
My advice as to services: “Do not go gently into that good night!” As soon as the parents put themselves into the Division’s service provider’s hands, anything they say can and will be used against them. Normal mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety often are bootstrapped to whatever the initial complaint allegation was, inexorably enlarging the allegations to be countered.
Voluntary submission to services pre-fact finding should be the exception and not the rule.