Has ACS accused you of Neglect? Have your child/children been placed in Foster Care?
It causes great horror for a parent when the Administration for Children’s Services(ACS) accuses you of abuse or neglect and perhaps brings you to Court for a child protective proceeding. The horror increases when the Court decides that your child or children should be removed from your home pending a judicial determination of your conduct with your children. Here the Family Court will decide if you abused or neglected your children, if your children will still live with you or where your children will go if they cannot stay with you.
If you have had your children taken from you or if ACS is considering bringing a case against you, you should contact me so that I can advise you of your rights and responsibilities and if necessary advocate on your behalf in court. I will fight ACS on your behalf to make sure that you are treated fairly.
There are many stages and steps in a child protective proceeding and you will probably have to go to court several times. I will explain every step of the process to you.
Remember if your children have been taken from you then you must keep in contact with your child/children and if you do not keep in contact with your child/children for many months then ACS can ask that your parental rights be terminated.
If you expect your child/children to come home to you, you will need to make plans for your child/children and make the environment at home a safe one for your children to live.
The thought of losing a child is an overwhelming one. I have the experience that can guide you through this tough process. I will fight for your rights if your children are taken from you. I will make sure information about your children’s teachers, health providers, and mental health providers are provided to you while they are in foster care. Prior to placing your child in foster care I will make sure that ACS makes its best efforts to look for relatives to take care of your child or children prior to placing them in foster care. I will apprise ACS of any available relatives you may have that could possibly take your children and prevent foster care placement.
Finally, during the Court process, I will fight for your right to visit your children in foster care and ask for more visits on your behalf if necessary.
I will help you through this long and arduous process. I will do my best to keep your children in your home or return your children to you.
My fees are reasonable, so do not let money stop you from calling me.
What does it mean if my parental rights are terminated?
When your parental rights are terminated you are no longer able to make decisions about your child and generally you are unable to communicate with your child. At times, the adoptive parents may let you communicate with your child but the decision will be left up to them. Your children can also be adopted without your consent if you have lost your parental rights.
How are the rights of a parent terminated?
In New York City the Administration for Children’s Services will file a Petition in Court stating legal grounds for your rights to be terminated as a parent. The Judge will order a hearing on the matter, which is a trial, and ACS will have to prove that there are grounds for terminating your rights and it has made efforts to reunite your children with you. You will get a chance to present evidence on your behalf as well. At the end of the hearing the Judge will make a decision about terminating your parental rights. If your rights have been terminated, the Judge may decide that your can be adopted by their foster parents or someone else.
What does ACS have to prove terminate a parent’s rights?
ACS must prove one of five reasons to terminate your rights.
The first is called Abandonment and this means that you lost communication with your child six months prior to ACS filing a Petition to terminate your rights.
The second reason is called Permanent Neglect. Here it is alleged that you did not make adequate plans for the future of your child and that you did not cooperate with ACS to plan for your children’s future for more than one year after your children entered foster care.
The three other reasons are mental illness, mental retardation, and severe and repeated abuse.
At what point will ACS try to terminate my rights?
If your children have been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months, ACS can file a petition to terminate your parental rights.
Can I prevent ACS from terminating my Parental Rights?
Yes you can. If your children are being cared for by a friend or relative, or if there is a compelling reason that it would not be in the best interests of your child that your rights be terminated, then ACS might be stopped from terminating your parental rights. Finally if ACS failed to use reasonable efforts ot reunite you with your children (i.e. by failing to provide you with necessary services and referrals) the Court may refuse to terminate your parental rights.
Do I need a Lawyer if ACS wants to Terminate my Parental Rights?
Absolutely. If you meet certain income requirements, you may be eligible for Court appointed lawyer. If you are not eligible for a Court appointed lawyer or wish to hire a one, please give me a call, George M. Gilmer, Esq., a Brooklyn Family Court attorney, and I will be happy to answer all of your questions.
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