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ACS Cases

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Parent’s Rights against ACS in New York


It can be thoroughly frightening and devastating when the state intervenes in the relationship between you and your child. If the New York Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) has contacted you about the welfare of your child, someone reported you or your child’s caregiver to the state for potential child abuse or neglect. You need to react appropriately and quickly if this happens. You also don’t want to face this kind of allegation without the help of a skilled attorney who is a regular advocate for parents’ rights against the ACS. At the Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC, George Mark Gilmer is that skilled attorney, and our Read more . . .


Saturday, December 25, 2021

How do you expunge an ACS case?


As an ACS Defense Attorney at the Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC, I have for twenty years represented people indicated by ACS (CPS) and have helped many expunge their cases. My clients ask me how do I expunge a finding against me?  I tell them expunging a case is a two step process, first you must get it sealed. This can either happen after an Administrative review of your case by OCFS or after a fair hearing that you win.  After that you must write a letter to OCFS stating that you want the case expunged. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in a fair hearing case can only seal a case, the ALG has no authority to expunge a case.
Read more . . .


Thursday, December 23, 2021

What is a permanency planning hearing? Written by New York ACS Defense Attorney


As a New York ACS Defense attorney at the Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC, based in Brooklyn, I have represented parents in all five boroughs in abuse or neglect proceedings for the past twenty years. My clients often ask me “what is a permanency planning hearing?” I tell them that the Family Court Act Article 10-A is the law that applies to permanency hearings for children that have been removed and not in their parent’s home. The point of the hearing is to ensure that children placed out of their homes have a timely review by the Court which promotes their safety and well being. The hearings are scheduled every six months. 

 

The Law

 

When a child is removed from the custody of a parent for alleged neglect or abuse, ACS is responsible for developing a permanency goal and a permanency report.


Read more . . .


Monday, December 20, 2021

Has ACS accused you of mental illness? Written by New York ACS Defense Attorney


As a Brooklyn, New York based ACS Defense Attorney I have successfully represented parents in all five boroughs with mental illnesses and parents alleged of having mental illness and as a result accused by Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) of neglecting their child.This representation has taken place in Family Court and before the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) for parents indicated for neglect.  Just because a parent has a mental illness does not mean their child is in danger because of this mental illness and it does not mean that their child will be taken from them.  This article summarizes the law regarding mental illness and what factors a New York Family Court or OCFS may look at in determining whether to make a neglect finding. 

 

The United States Supreme Court has held that the “…primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.


Read more . . .


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Have you been accused of Educational Neglect? Written by a New York ACS Defense Attorney


As an New York ACS Defense Attorney for the past twenty years I have represented a number of clients in Educational Neglect matters. If you are accused of this because of a child’s excessive absence from school you will have to give a reason for these absences to avoid a finding against you. 

 

What is Educational Neglect?

 

 


Read more . . .


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Is the custodial parent interfering with your visitation rights in New York?


As a Brooklyn, New York City Family Court Attorney for twenty years I have litigated many disputes over parenting time in Family Court.  This article explores the legal standards for a parent to obtain parenting time with their child.  I have represented a number of parents who have their visitation rights denied by the other parent. Many times, however issues of access are worked out by settlement between both parties but this article presumes that the parents are litigating the issue in Court.

The right of access to children is a joint right of both parents and of the child.


Read more . . .


Saturday, September 4, 2021

Has ACS taken your children because of drug or alcohol use?


 As a New York City Family Court Lawyer and ACS Defense attorney, I have come across many parent’s who have had their children taken from them or have had ACS cases filed against them with an ensuing investigation due to drug or alcohol use. I have successfully argued for the return of children in many cases of this type because the mere use of drugs or alcohol does not mean that a child was harmed or is in imminent danger of being harmed.  I have also successfully represented parents during investigation or after ACS has indicated the parent for inadequate guardianship as a result of drug or alcohol misuse.  I have successfully  argued that abuse of drugs or alcohol on its own does not mean that a child should be removed from a parent or that a neglect finding should be made against 

The Family Court Act defines a "neglected child" as a child less than 18 years of age "whose physical, mental or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as a result of the failure of his or her parent to exercise a minimum degree of care in providing the child with proper supervision or guardianship, by misusing a drug or drugs; or by misusing alcoholic beverages to the extent that he loses self-control of his actions" (Family Court Act § 1012 [f] [i] [B]).

‘The law is broken down into two parts, the first part being actual or imminent danger of physical mental or emotional impairment.


Read more . . .


Thursday, April 29, 2021

What are the types of Custody in New York? Written by a Brooklyn, New York City Custody and Visitation attorney.


As a New York City Family Court lawyer people often ask  me how many types of custody are there?  There are four types of custody in New York State. I will explain all of them in detail.

 

First of all it is important to note that you can apply for custody in either the Supreme Court of the State of New York or the Family Court of the State of New York. You would apply for custody in the Supreme Court if you are also simultaneously looking for a divorce. If you do not want a divorce but are living apart from the other parent then you could apply for custody in Family Court.


Read more . . .


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Can I fight the foster care agency if they remove children from my foster care home in New York? By Brooklyn, New York City ACS Attorney.


Sometimes foster parents are faced with the closing of their foster care home based upon allegations they may disagree with.  Foster parent’s develop a bond with their foster children, and the removal of their foster kids can be traumatizing to the the foster parent and the children. Many people ask me, a Brooklyn based New York City ACS Attorney what they can do if their foster kids are removed?

 

In New York City a foster parent has a few options when a removal occurs. The first thing that happens after a removal, is that the parent will receive a Notice of Removal from a Foster Home. This form contains the name of the parent from whom the children were removed, the name of the foster care  agency removing the children, the agency case planner responsible for the removal and the date the notice of removal was issued.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Should I let ACS in if they knock on my door? By Brooklyn, New York ACS defense attorney.


This is a very complicated question. As a Brooklyn ACS Attorney that has represented clients for over 18 years  I can say that you do not have to let ACS in without a court order. However, if you do not let them in it can trigger a course of circumstances that you need to be ready for.

 

If ACS has started an investigation against you the case will last 60 days. During the 60 days, ACS will visit your home twice a month.
Read more . . .


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Court to Weigh Whether Methadone During Pregnancy Equals Child Abuse

In a case closely watched by child safety advocates across the country, the New Jersey Supreme Court is slated to decide whether a pregnant mother who underwent methadone maintenance therapy during gestation should be found guilty in family court of abuse and neglect of her infant son, who was born dependent on the drug.

In Division of Youth and Family Services v. Y.N., both the trial court as well as the state's appellate division have ruled the mother's conduct was a form of abuse and neglect, given the child was born with withdrawal symptoms characterized as severe. He had to be hospitalized for an additional 47 after he was born.

Our Brooklyn ACS defense attorneys recognize the legal reasoning and outcome here could be important for local courts in determining how to proceed in similar cases.

While other courts have held mothers who abuse drugs during pregnancy can be held accountable in criminal and family courts, this case is somewhat unique in that the mother's use of the drug was under the supervision of a doctor. At the time she conceived, she was abusing heroin and painkillers. When she learned she was with child, she began seeing a doctor. Several months later, she started on a methadone treatment program, and entered into a medical facility.

Physicians and other medical staffers warned her that if she immediately stopped using all substances, she could have a miscarriage. Not wanting to risk losing her child, she reportedly believed the best option was to undergo chemical dependency treatment under the care of a doctor.

However, both lower courts held it did not matter whether the drugs were taken legally or illegally. As the woman's criminal defense attorney would later argue to the high court, the appellate court's decision effectively held "medical treatment equals harm." Here, the mother had been told the safest course of action was methadone treatment.

Chief justices posed several possible scenarios:

Would a pregnant woman avoid liability for illegal use of drugs if a doctor told her to continue taking them because withdrawal would be too dangerous?

Would a mother who used methadone on her own, without consultation of a physician, be similarly protected?

Interceding as amicus, the National Advocates for Pregnant Women argued the woman should be cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, asserting methadone treatment overseen by a physician was reasonable for someone in her circumstances.

However, prosecutors representing the state's Division of Child Protection and Permanency, requested the finding be upheld. They say at its core, the case is about the serious risk of harm to the fetus. It was noted the mother had a six-year history of drug abuse, and used other illegal substances throughout part of her pregnancy. The prosecutor asserted to the court the mother was unwilling or unable to provide necessary protection to the child. She indicated other factors played into the final determination of abuse and neglect, but conceded the mother's methadone use was part of it.

It's worth noting there are methadone treatment centers in New York that specifically provide care to pregnant women.

Those who have undergone this treatment and are now enduring an ACS investigation should contact an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.

Our Brooklyn ACS defense attorneys can be reached at (718) 864-2011.

Additional Resources:

Case Tests Whether Methadone Treatment During Pregnancy is Abuse, Sept. 10, 2014, By Michael Booth, New Jersey Law Journal

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