DeMystifying the Children in Court (CIC) Docket


On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, NewJerseyDYFSdefense founder, Allison C. Williams, Esq., will be presenting on a panel discussing defense of parents in child welfare (i.e., DYFS/DCPP) matters. The educational program for judges and attorneys will be presented to the Union County Bar Association (UCBA) immediately preceding the Mccloud Awards Dinner. Some of the topics will include:

– Should parents voluntarily speak to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) regarding allegations of child abuse;

– How to gain access to DCPP records when no complaint has been filed by the agency;

– How to litigate a custody case and a DCPP case at the same time;

– How to secure the best parenting time arrangement during a DCPP case while a criminal investigation is ongoing and/or a criminal charge has been filed;

– When to consult DCPP counsel during a matrimonial case, when to refer it out and when to handle it behind the scenes;

– How to gain a strategic advantage over the agency while “call operating” with an investigation; and

– Much, much more!

The panel will include Superior Court Judge Camille Kenny, Deputy Attorney General Christian Arnold and law guardian in Patricia Vogler. The event will take place at LaFaire restaurant in Mountainside, New Jersey, starting at 4:30 PM.

This event further confirms that Ms. Williams is the foremost authority on parental defense in child welfare cases in the State of New Jersey.

If you or someone you know is involved with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly DYFS), and you may need assistance, please contact us at Paragano and Williams, LLC.

DCPP Segway into Custody Litigation


In New Jersey, as in most jurisdictions, the court must consider whether or not a child would be subjected to abuse or neglect in the care of any parent seeking legal and physical custody of the child. Consequently, the outcome of an abuse or neglect case brought by DCPP can be very significant for custody litigation. When a parent has been found by the agency or a court to have abused or neglected child, however, that finding is not dispositive of the custody issue.

Here are a few points to consider when contesting custody, after a finding of abuse or neglect has been made:

1. An agency finding without court intervention can, and often does, indicate an isolated incident that is of no further concern to the agency. Pursue an administrative appeal, if for no other reason than to alert the custody court that you contest the agency finding.

2. The court finding often occurs long after the problem has been remediated. Many times an allegation of abuse and neglect does not reach a fact-finding stage for many months, even a year, into the case. By that time, services have been offered to the family and the problem has resolved.

3. If abuse or neglect allegations arise during the pendency of a custody case, parents’ financial resources often limit them to litigate in only one forum. The parent may stipulate in order to get rid of the agency case and invest resources in the custody case.

Further, the agency is often more willing to be lax in its involvement with the family if the parent stipulates to expedite the process. However distasteful that may be, the reality should be addressed with the custody court so as not to prejudice a litigant seeking custody.

4. The broad, amorphus definition of neglect often makes less-than-perfect parental behavior a violation of law. Many times, parents can persuade the agency to change its finding if the facts of a contentious divorce are fleshed out in a custody case while the abuse and neglect case is ongoing.

5. Sometimes, both parents have engaged in some form of abuse and neglect; however, only one parent is accused and has a finding made against him. That does not prevent the other parent from filing his own Title 9 complaint or raising allegations of abuse or neglect in the custody case. The fact that the agency did not accuse the adverse party of abuse or neglect does not negate its existence.

In sum, do not assume that a finding by DCPP ends the custody case. Many times, it is merely an unfortunate blip on the radar screen that must be explained through custody and parenting time evaluations, custody mediation and trial.

For more information, please feel free to contact us and schedule a consultation.

A Father Wrongfully Accused of Rape on the Katie Couric Show


Thomas Kennedy, a father wrongfully accused of raping his daughter, tells his tragic tale on the Katie Couric Show. Thomas, a recovering alcoholic, neglected time with his daughters before he became sober. Unfortunately, post-divorce, his daughter was seeking attention, calling out for help, and this was her plea.

Because Thomas is a recovering alcoholic, Katie Couric asked the question if there was any possibility that he did something – anything – and did not recall it. Thomas maintains that this was impossible, as he never drank when he had custody or care of the children. Apparently, years after the wrongful conviction, the child came forward and recanted the allegation.

The only evidence against Thomas was his daughter’s accusation. In New Jersey, in order for DYFS (child welfare authorities) to rely upon the child’s hearsay statements of abuse, there must be corroboration. N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.46(a)(4). But, in Thomas’ case, his daughter took the witness stand, pointed to him and testified that he raped her.

And, sadly, many people ask the very question that Katie Couric posed to Thomas – why would a child tell such a heinous lie? That natural inclination to wonder makes overcoming such allegations particularly difficult.

Here at http://NewJerseyDYFSDefense.com, we can help parents wrongfully accused of child abuse, including child sexual abuse.