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Thread: DYFS placed my son in foster care after finding out his mother was abusing drugs

  1. #1
    Daniel82283 is offline Junior Member
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    Question DYFS placed my son in foster care after finding out his mother was abusing drugs

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? New Jersey

    My sons mother and I have been separated for 4 years, never married. We have joint legal custody and she has primary physical custody, every Saturday night my son sleeps over my house. I had heard she was using heroin so I contacted DYFS. 1st drug test she passed, 2nd one she failed for opiates. Last night DYFS removed my son from her custody and placed him in a foster home. When DYFS informed me of this they told me that their division didnt think it was a good idea to give me custody because of my background, I have had numerous legal issues involving drug use in the past the most recent was 2 years ago when I failed a drug test for DYFS which they wanted me to complete an outpatient to regain rights of seeing my son. I completed the program and have completely changed my life around, drug free, full time employment, actively in my sons life. There is a court date scheduled on 12/18 to determine the custody of my son. What should I expect? What important factors should I bring up so I can get custody of my son? Should I file for joint physical custody?
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Your best bet is to get a lawyer, though you don't have much time now.
  3. #3
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel82283 View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? New Jersey

    My sons mother and I have been separated for 4 years, never married. We have joint legal custody and she has primary physical custody, every Saturday night my son sleeps over my house. I had heard she was using heroin so I contacted DYFS. 1st drug test she passed, 2nd one she failed for opiates. Last night DYFS removed my son from her custody and placed him in a foster home. When DYFS informed me of this they told me that their division didnt think it was a good idea to give me custody because of my background, I have had numerous legal issues involving drug use in the past the most recent was 2 years ago when I failed a drug test for DYFS which they wanted me to complete an outpatient to regain rights of seeing my son. I completed the program and have completely changed my life around, drug free, full time employment, actively in my sons life. There is a court date scheduled on 12/18 to determine the custody of my son. What should I expect? What important factors should I bring up so I can get custody of my son? Should I file for joint physical custody?
    You should expect to have to complete a case plan. You should expect that by calling DYFS you put yourself under a microscope also. You should expect to need an attorney. How often has your child been in DYFS custody?
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  4. #4
    Daniel82283 is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you for your response Ohiogal, I appreciate you taking the time to point out some of the situations I am gong to have to deal with. My son has never been taken by DYFS before this. I was told I could apply for a public defender on Monday and given the type of situation I should be able to get one right away. What type of case plan would they have me do if I haven't had any issues with DYFS since my last involvement 2 years ago that I satisfied their requirements? At these initial court hearings is it normal to come up with a solution that I could possibly take custody of my son that day or should I expect it to be a long drawn out process with my son staying in foster care?
  5. #5
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel82283 View Post
    Thank you for your response Ohiogal, I appreciate you taking the time to point out some of the situations I am gong to have to deal with. My son has never been taken by DYFS before this. I was told I could apply for a public defender on Monday and given the type of situation I should be able to get one right away. What type of case plan would they have me do if I haven't had any issues with DYFS since my last involvement 2 years ago that I satisfied their requirements? At these initial court hearings is it normal to come up with a solution that I could possibly take custody of my son that day or should I expect it to be a long drawn out process with my son staying in foster care?
    You should expect to do drug testing and maybe parenting classes. You need to talk to your public defender regarding this. Parents SHOULD ALWAYS attempt to take other steps and exhaust all possible legal possibilities BEFORE involving DYFS. Why were you involved with DYFS 2 years ago if your son was not involved? The good thing is that if your son was not in DYFS custody you are not looking at 12/22 or 15/22 issues.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  6. #6
    Daniel82283 is offline Junior Member
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    What are 12/22 and 15/22 issues? 2 yrs ago my sons mother called dyfs on me and I failed a drug test. I was required to complete an outpatient program and I did. I've been drug free since than. My son was never taken into custody by dyfs because his mother had custody of him. I know a lot of my questions are going to be brought up to my public defender I guess the fact that all of this happened Friday night and I'm stuck in limbo over the weekend with my mind racing until I can speak to a lawyer on Monday I just want to be prepared with the important aspects of how I can get custody of my son or if I'm just getting my hopes up. I'm worried about my little guy which is why I've fought for his safety over the past 2 months with his mothers issue... at 1st I tried speaking to her rationally to no avail, than I tried her mother, than the police, and than the family court judge. Nothing changed until she failed a drug test with dyfs.
  7. #7
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel82283 View Post
    What are 12/22 and 15/22 issues? 2 yrs ago my sons mother called dyfs on me and I failed a drug test. I was required to complete an outpatient program and I did. I've been drug free since than. My son was never taken into custody by dyfs because his mother had custody of him. I know a lot of my questions are going to be brought up to my public defender I guess the fact that all of this happened Friday night and I'm stuck in limbo over the weekend with my mind racing until I can speak to a lawyer on Monday I just want to be prepared with the important aspects of how I can get custody of my son or if I'm just getting my hopes up. I'm worried about my little guy which is why I've fought for his safety over the past 2 months with his mothers issue... at 1st I tried speaking to her rationally to no avail, than I tried her mother, than the police, and than the family court judge. Nothing changed until she failed a drug test with dyfs.
    So basically Monday is the emergency custody hearing and then after that there will be a trial and a dispositional hearing.

    12 months out of 22 or 15 months out of 22 means if your son has been in the custody of DYFS for that amount (defined by statute in your state) then DYFS can move for permanent custody of the child if they believe the issues will continue and they won't be able to return the child to either parent. That is why I was asking about 2 years ago.


    WHY did you voluntarily take a test for DYFS? You didn't have to do so if they didn't have a court order. While you MIGHT be able to get custody on Monday, don't count on it due to your proven drug issues since you failed a drug test and DYFS is probably going to want to make sure you have no issues currently and are clean. Did you complete rehab then? Do you have evidence of that? If so, give it to your attorney.

    Do NOT believe that DYFS or the caseworker is your friend by the way. THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. They are government workers. Too many people forget that and start babbling. If you wouldn't say it to a cop, don't tell it to an employee of DYFS. With a cop, you can lose your freedom; with DYFS you can permanently lose your child. Of course, once there is a court order, FOLLOW IT unless your attorney advises you differently.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  8. #8
    Daniel82283 is offline Junior Member
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    Lack of knowing I suppose would be my best answer for why I had taken that drug test 2 years ago. Yes I completed the outpatient program that DYFS wanted me to do and it is in their files because they needed confirmation that I completed it and I had to sign waivers to release that information to them. I am going to request a drug test in court on Tuesday to prove that I am clean. Any info on how I can get a probono or discounted lawyer for this matter? or do you think that a public defender would be sufficient enough for this type of issue? Once again Ohiogal I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge with me and taking an interest in this.
  9. #9
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel82283 View Post
    Lack of knowing I suppose would be my best answer for why I had taken that drug test 2 years ago. Yes I completed the outpatient program that DYFS wanted me to do and it is in their files because they needed confirmation that I completed it and I had to sign waivers to release that information to them. I am going to request a drug test in court on Tuesday to prove that I am clean. Any info on how I can get a probono or discounted lawyer for this matter? or do you think that a public defender would be sufficient enough for this type of issue? Once again Ohiogal I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge with me and taking an interest in this.
    A public defender is a probono or discounted lawyer. How about you not be so ignorant about the attorney? It is highly insulting that you believe a public defender is not good enough or not the same as a probono or discounted lawyer. The public defender given to you will most likely have more experience than a high priced attorney - considering juvenile court is NOT where the millionaire lawyers hang out.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  10. #10
    Daniel82283 is offline Junior Member
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    I was not trying to insult public defenders in any way, I have dealt with a few in my past that have gone above and beyond simply resolving issues, truely kind hearted lawyers that cared. On the other hand some were counterproductive and ended up not having my best interest in mind, just hurry through the motions and get onto the next of their busy case loads. You do make a very valid point on the experience aspect though.
  11. #11
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel82283 View Post
    I was not trying to insult public defenders in any way, I have dealt with a few in my past that have gone above and beyond simply resolving issues, truely kind hearted lawyers that cared. On the other hand some were counterproductive and ended up not having my best interest in mind, just hurry through the motions and get onto the next of their busy case loads. You do make a very valid point on the experience aspect though.
    There are also some attorneys that charge $300, $400, $500 an hour that do the same thing -- they just hurry through the motions and get to the next of their busy case loads as you put it. Do NOT assume that just because an attorney charges a lot you are going to win or get fabulous service or better representation than a less expensive attorney.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohiogal View Post
    There are also some attorneys that charge $300, $400, $500 an hour that do the same thing -- they just hurry through the motions and get to the next of their busy case loads as you put it. Do NOT assume that just because an attorney charges a lot you are going to win or get fabulous service or better representation than a less expensive attorney.
    Agreed! I had a free attournty to repersent me in a landlord case, I didnt feel he did much. Then when I got a free lawyer for a custody case to my surprise it was him! Mediation day came and he explained to me before the mediation that he didn't try to defend me because the landlord used to me the judges Secretary. There was no way he could win. But you better bet you buns he kicked butt for me in the custody mediation! I came out very thankful for him! He happened to be retired and wanted a way to give back to our comunity. I also found out he is running for judge and I promised to help in anyway I could for what he did for my case (he still accepts my calls and advises me even thought my case is closed). Free lawyers do care and do try hard.

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