Happy New Year from NewJerseyDYFSdefense.com!


As we say goodbye to 2012, we here at New Jersey DYFS Defense want to take some time to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.

In April 2010, NewJerseyDYFSdefense.com was launched by our founder, Allison C. Williams, Esq. Ms. Williams created this site to serve as a portal of information for attorneys who represent parents in child welfare matters involving the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). The site became an invaluable resource for the bar, housing periodicals and scholarly articles published by Ms. Williams over the years.

Then in 2011, Ms. Williams began to see a need to expand the reach of our site. Members of the public sought legal advice, information and guidance on how to defend against actions brought by the State, as well as how to handle agency investigations, negotiate case plan and navigate services – either prior to, during or after litigation. As more and more individuals sought guidance, Ms. Williams began to shift her focus from making the site’s invaluable information accessible, to making herself available for consultation and representation.

Now, in 2012, NewJerseyDYFSdefense.com has become an entity unto itself. Ms. Williams posts content about this obscure and complicated area of law including social commentary, legal analysis and practice pointers not designed to serve as legal advice. As a result, NewJerseyDYFSdefense boasted record volume, averaging HUNDREDS of site hits per day. Ms. Williams’ career has blossomed.

In 2012, she became the first African American attorney to gain Fellowship in the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She was appointed to a New Jersey Supreme Court Committee – the Board on Attorney Certification Matrimonial Committee. Ms. Williams also took the helm as the Chair of the Certified Attorneys Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

These accomplishments, while impressive, have meant the most to Ms. Williams in one key area of her practice — i.e., her ability to marshal these efforts to continue to help families embroiled in litigation against the State of New Jersey. As a thought leader in this area of the law, NewJerseyDYFSdefense.com has been cited by the media in evaluating the defense position in matters before the New Jersey Supreme Court. And, most recently, Ms. Williams was recognized as a thought leader when invited to appear on the Katie Couric show to blog on the topic of parents falsely accused of child abuse.

We envision even greater accomplishments in 2013. It is only through zealous advocacy, vocal and visible debate on child welfare topics, participation in the legislative process where these matters are implicated and service to the profession through aggressive advocacy and caring for clients that we will be able to change the Child Welfare system for the betterment of families in New Jersey and society as a whole.

We hope you will continue to post your comments, visit the site for updates on this area of the law and contact us with any questions, concerns or requests for representation.

Impact upon Siblings of False Child Sexual Abuse Allegations


Thomas Kennedy, a father wrongfully accused of raping his then 11 year old daughter, Cassandra, was convicted but eventually freed when the child came forward with the truth. Cassandra’s sister appeared with Thomas and Cassandra to discuss the implications for this family trauma on the Katie Couric show.

The siblings often suffer as a result of the child sexual abuse disclosure – whether it is truthful or not. The sibling is often placed in therapy to deal with the loss of the accused parent and to help support the victim child. But what of those cases when the accused parent is not guilty? In those circumstances where therapy is required for the sibling who does not believe the abuse, the forcing of therapy can be harm in and of itself. No matter how well-intentioned the professionals involved, the sibling’s resistance to believing that abuse occurred often prolongs the therapy required of them.

These difficult issues often plague the child welfare system. Therapeutic intervention occurs within the context of litigation. If you or someone you know requires help with these issues in child welfare litigation, please contact us at http://NewJerseyDYFSdefense.com.

Child’s Fabrication of Child Sexual Abuse on the Katie Couric Show


Thomas Kennedy, a Father wrongfully accused of child sexual abuse, sits with his daughter as she explains how very easy it was for her to tell the false tale of sexual abuse. Cassandra, only age 11, at the time she lied and accused her father of sexually abusing her, answers pointed questions by Katie Couric. When Katie asked Cassandra how she was able to concoct such a believable tale, she admits to weaving together fake details from television, a friend’s confiding in her that friend’s own experience with child sexual abuse, and the fact that she had been sexually active.

When asked by Katie how Cassandra could tell her tale so convincingly, Cassandra acknowledged that she made no effort whatsoever to try to be believable. She just made up the story, answered the questions posed to her and followed along with the authorities.

When Cassandra decided to come forward with the truth, she initially disclosed that she had lied to her mother, but feeling the shame of her original lie, she then recanted the truth! This second recantation made her mother believe that the recantation was really false. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence. Recantation is often attributed to a child’s feelings of guilt over the molestation and its disclosure, rather than the child’s feelings of guilt over the lie.

Thomas Kennedy faults his attorney for tactical errors he feels contributed to his conviction. Handling the intricacies of child sexual abuse in the child welfare context undoubtedly requires skilled counsel. If you or someone you know have been accused of child sexual abuse, contact us at http://NewJerseyDYFSdefense.com.

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.

Audrey Edmunds on the Katie Couric Show


For Audrey Edmunds’ children, the distance was approximately 5 hours away by car from the jail. The girls did not come as regularly ver time. Visitation dwindled because Audrey’s father passed away, thereby limiting the ability for an adult to transport the children. As the girls grew older, they were busier with sports, friends, etc. Luckily, today – 11 years after the wrongful prosecution – Audrey has a good relationship with her children.

Next up on the Katie Couric show, the attorney who worked on her case and the medical professionals’ perspective of the science that led to Audrey’s conviction and subsequent release from jail.

Audrey Edmunds on the Katie Couric show


Audrey Edmund’s story is mesmerizing. Katie Couric’s journalistic style is very easy-going, precise, clear. Much like a direct examination. As Audrey tells the story, she is very composed, but clearly affected by the events that so shaped her life. Audrey is writing a book, detailing what she has survived, being accused and convicted of a heinous crime against a beautiful baby girl, Natalie.

Audrey describes a typical day in the life of Natalie Bearman. And, following the brief description of the story, Katie moves into the moment when Audrey learns that she is a “person of interest” and is ultimately charged with the crime of causing the death of the baby.