Getting Proper Legal Help with a Child Protective Proceeding
According to the American SPCC, over 7 million child abuse reports were filed in the year 2020 alone. (1) Child abuse, maltreatment, and neglect are disturbingly prevalent across the United States. For this reason, when child protective services learn about any child who is being abused in their home, they take matters very seriously and they will likely move forward with filing a petition for court-ordered help in protecting the child.
In New York City, The Administration of Children’s Services is the main child-protective agency that may petition for a child protective proceeding to take place. The court will hold hearings to determine if the allegations made by the agency are accurate and what action they need to take to protect the children being considered.
What Should Parents Do If a Child Protective Agency Contacts Them?
If you get a call, letter, or visit from The Administration of Children’s Services in New York, you should contact a family lawyer as soon as possible. There are very high stakes at hand, and if parents were wrongfully blamed, they need to act fast to prove their case so they can continue living happily with their children.
The truth is that when the petition is filed in Family Court, the children may be relocated to a foster home through emergency removal. This removal is either done by the agency themselves, or the police. In such cases, parents may have the option of requesting an urgent hearing so their children can still be with them until the hearing is complete and a final decision is made.
If you find yourself in this situation, you should get in touch with an attorney right away so you can get appropriate representation in court. Each party is required to have their own lawyers, and the child will likely also be assigned an Attorney for Child.
What Evidence May Be Used by the Child Protective Agency During the Fact-Finding Hearing?
Once the petition is filed and the safety of the children is confirmed, the court will hold a fact-finding hearing to determine whether or not the child was actually neglected and abused. After this hearing, a dispositional hearing will be held to determine what will be done in case the abuse is proven.
The child protective agency will use various forms of evidence to try and prove the abuse occurred.
- Hospital records
- Photographs of injuries
- Evidence of parental substance abuse
In some cases, the children themselves will be called in as witnesses. If the children are very young, they may see the judge in a private room instead and not in the actual courtroom.
The good news is that if the court finds that the allegations were not sufficiently proven, they will dismiss the petition and return the child to their normal home and lifestyle. However, if they determine that the abuse or neglect did occur, they will proceed with a dispositional hearing and further investigation of the family, as well as take actions to protect the children for the long term.
Protect Your Children and Your Rights with the Help of a Skilled Family Lawyer in NY Today
If a child protective proceeding has been initiated for your children, you need as much legal help as you can get to ensure the truth is heard. Connect with an experienced family lawyer, Heidi Opinsky, at the Law Offices of Heidi Opinsky, LLC, today to get help with a child protective proceeding.
Visit our website to send us a message or call 203-653-3542 now and we will get back to you as soon as possible