There are several steps that can be employed to regain custody after a CPS investigation has upended that access. First, if there’s a concern that led to a change in custody and that concern is valid. The parent’s best course of action is to get help. Whatever the issue is, if it’s substance abuse, if it’s mental health, showing that you’re going to take the initiative to address the issue when something as serious as custody of your child is at issue, that you’re going to act in the child’s best interest, is going to go very far to impress the court. A parent with a substance abuse problem or even a mental health client is far more likely to regain custody if they acknowledge the problem and deal with it.
Second, there is some visceral reaction that parents often have that they need to start using everything that they have available to them to attack the other parent. Reciprocity and tattling on the parent who is not at issue in a child abuse investigation is rarely effective, very rarely.
If there are real issues, certainly the parent should raise them. But when you’re accused of child abuse, you begin by countering that the targeted parent is not the real problem – it really is the other parent. The other parent has a litany of issues; the agency may actually come after both parents. That’s an area the child may end up in foster care; the child could be taken from both parents and placed with a non-relative or with a relative.
Even if the child remains in the care of the parent who is accused of abuse by the parent who was initially investigated, you could have concerns that the agency is going to stick around for a much longer time now because they have concerns about both parents. It rarely does the family a service to start throwing allegations of child abuse back and forth.
Allison C. Williams is a matrimonial and family law attorney serving Short Hills New Jersey. Her practice places an emphasis on complex child welfare matters. www.familylawyersnewjersey.com