NJ Rules Regarding Parental Rights Termination
This is what I don't get about this state. Exactly what does it take before parental rights are terminated in NJ? The reason I ask is that my wife and I are fostering a beautiful baby boy who we are deeply in love with and were holding out hope to adopt, however, after going to court the other day, it looks like the court is going to turn over custody to his father with the possibility of the mother regaining custody at some point. But here's the problem. The mother has 5 children, currently, from 4 different fathers and another on the way with the identity of the father as yet unknown(the youngest is with us). She has had her children removed 3 times counting this time and from what we've been told, the reason why she keeps losing her kids is because she leaves them at home alone to fend for themselves often, the last time leading to one of the children burning themselves trying to cook dinner for everyone. Oh, did I mention that the eldest child is 7 years old? 3 times this woman has had her children pulled for the same reason and twice before, they were returned only for her to do it again, this time leading to an injury that could have been more serious or worse. So, what does the state do? They have her go through the same programs as before probably thinking she'll get it this time. As Einstein said, the first sign of a mental illness is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

I mean, it's obvious this person is ill equipped to take care of a fish let alone children. But the state is probably going to allow her to get her children back. Better yet, it was said that she has a sister out of state who's willing to take her in for a bit and the state is more than happy for her to do this because once she's out of state and something happens to her kids, it's that new state's problem. Nice, huh? Way to look out for the children's best interests.

This brings me to dad. I have my theories as to why he wants this child and none of them have anything to do with actually wanting to raise a child. In fact, I have reason to believe that he and the mother are still involved and I wouldn't be surprised if he was the father of the new baby. That said, these people are not good parents. It's nothing to produce a child but it takes a special kind of person to be a parent however, the state sees things differently and I don't understand it. There is no way that these people could raise this child better than us. Anyhoo, does anyone know of a circumstance where parental rights were terminated because I want to know what the criteria are.
Termination of Parental Rights
There is a four-prong test that lawyers for DYFS must make sure are followed before parental rights are terminated. The judge rules on that four-pronged law.

Here is some background:
[url=http://library.adoption.com/articles/grounds-for-termination-of-parental-rights-new-jersey.html]Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights New Jersey[/url]

Here is some more information:
N.J. Stat. Ann. 30:4C-15.1(a), (b) (West, WESTLAW through 2000 ch. 179)

The Division shall initiate a petition to terminate parental rights on the grounds of the 'best interests of the child' if the following standards are met:

1. The child's safety, health or development has been or will continue to be endangered by the parental relationship;

2. The parent is unwilling or unable to eliminate the harm facing the child or is unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable home for the child and the delay of permanent placement will add to the harm. Such harm may include evidence that separating the child from his foster parents would cause serious and enduring emotional or psychological harm to the child;

3. The Division has made reasonable efforts to provide services to help the parent correct the circumstances which led to the child's placement outside the home and the court has considered alternatives to termination of parental rights; and

4. Termination of parental rights will not do more harm than good.

The Division shall initiate a petition to terminate parental rights on the ground that the 'parent has abandoned the child' if the following standards are met:

A court finds that for a period of 6 or more months:the parent, although able to have contact, has had no contact with the child, the child's foster parent or the Division; and the parent's whereabouts are unknown, notwithstanding the Division's reasonable efforts to locate the parent; or

Where the identities of the parents are unknown and the Division has exhausted all reasonable methods of attempting identification, the Division may immediately file for termination of parental rights upon the completion of the law enforcement investigation; or

Where the parent voluntarily delivered the child to and left the child at, or voluntarily arranged for another person to deliver the child to and leave the child at a State, county, or municipal police station or at an emergency department of a licensed general hospital in the State when the child is or appears to be no more than 30 days old, without expressing an intent to return for the child.
We feel your pain...here is part of our story:
Little baby girl came to us 10 months ago (right from the hospital). We are the only family she has known. Biological mom never showed for visits, and all identified maternal family members were ruled out for drug/alcohol abuse. Biological mom doesn't have custody of other 8 children...all adopted out. Case was fast-tracked by judge, but Biological dad never showed for paternity test even though he was aware that he was identified as father. Flash forward to now, we are a few weeks from TPR hearing...Biological dad suddenly decides to show for paternity test and, though he can't raise children because of drug/alcohol issues, begins mentioning possible family, both in and out of state. Of course, baby is now saying "dada," and there is a definite bond with us (mom rarely showed for visits, which is why case was fast-tracked, and dad never met baby). Can anyone give us any hope? I should add that although baby tested positive for drugs at birth, was underweight and premature, is thriving now (thank God). What are the chances that this still goes to adoption? I think that's the question that no one can really answer.
Everyone at DYFS has been very helpful in guiding us through this process, and we couldn't be more grateful for being kept in the loop. We do realize that as foster parents, we do not have any rights yet, but still wonder if there is a chance that regardless of who steps forward, a judge would keep the case moving toward adoption. Any insight would be appreciated.
In my experience if a family member came forward a judge would go with family.

Have faith that the child will land where he's meant to be.
I think you have some hope. Just because the Dad is mentioning family doesn't mean they will WANT the baby or can care for the baby.
RandomReality said...
I think you have some hope. Just because the Dad is mentioning family doesn't mean they will WANT the baby or can care for the baby.

No, we have no hope.
DON'T Give up hope! My FS is 9mos old-I have had him since 4days straight from the hospital. Biological dad has had 12-YUP 12 family members come forward 8 ruled out-4 smart enough to realize they don't want an 18+yr committment. I am far far far away from TPR (this is moms 4th child-TPR on the first 3)-hang in there and love that baby for all you are worth...Have no regrets...Good Luck
the law doesnt mean anything-the judges play god because they have NO accountability when things go south.
I think the judge would want to know why dad waited till now to produce family also-just because family comes forward doesn't mean it's an automatic. MY FS has been with me since 4days old-he is now 9months and in my case Biological dad has brought forward 12 people-8 of whom the state ruled out & 4 who are not willing to commit to 18+yrs..My case is far from over-but I still have hope that the right thing is going to happen...
Parental Rights
In NJ judges want to keep children with their parents as much as possible. This is for the sake of the child. Even if the parents or one parent has issues. The judge still gives the parent a chance to raise their children.

DYFS isn't one to take children, but to help the family stay together. That is their mission from what I am told.

There are drug addicted mothers who keep custody of their children in NJ.

It all lies on the judges decision. They don't care if you want to adopt the child. The fact is he has parents that have the right to raise him. If his father wants to raise him or any of her family then they get first choice over you.

Also, if a mother has issues and moves in with a relative then that is supervised, which the judge then allows the mother to keep her children. This means the mother is not alone with her children.

You can get upset all you want, but if this was your child, then you'd want a chance to raise them. Even if you make mistakes. Since you're a man you wouldn't want the state to take your rights away all because of the mother. Plus, there are plenty of other children to adopt that don't come from an abusive or neglectful home.

All you can do is hope and pray that the mother changes for the sake of her children. That the father loves his son to where he wants him. Wish them luck.
Actually, that is a crying shame. That baby should be raised by family not in foster home. That's my opinion on this matter.
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