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Does this sound Familiar to you? Unprecedented: N.J. judges find foster parents have no say in child placement The hearts of New Jersey foster parents are in the right place, but that doesn't give them a say in placement hearings, a state appeals court has ruled in an unprecedented decision stemming from a Hudson County case. The “resource parents,” as parents are called in the state’s courts, have “no independent legal interest” when a judge is weighing where to place youngsters from troubled situations, the Appellate Division determined. That responsibility belongs to a law guardian appointed by DYFS. “The importance of the essential role of resource parents in the child placement arena is unquestioned,” Judge Marie Lihotz wrote. “However, the legal rights of such caregivers in securing an undisturbed relationship with a child placed in their home [are] very limited.” (Copy and paste link to continue reading article But why? Why are resource parent's legal rights to their foster child VERY limited? This is a question that has yet to be answered. Case after case you hear stories as such that have concluded with the same outcome. It is life changing to open your home to a child or children, feed them, dress them, care for them, love them and keep them safe from the situation that they have come from. Only to have a court judge and law guardian make the ultimate decision in the permanent placement of the child. These two individuals have the least amount of contact with the child, if any at all. Yet, they have the final word in where or who will be raising the child. This is why it is crucial to support this petition so that injustices as such will cease in the State of New Jersey! We need your help! We need to hold NJ DCF accountable for adopting a Case Practice Model (their guide post) which is heavily focused on the family and its rehabilitation rather than the “best interest of the child”. Let’s face it, we live in one of the most liberal states in the country when it comes to Child Welfare practices, even California is tougher. In California for example, if you are caught running a meth lab or have exposed your children to meth - your parental rights are automatically terminated. In NJ, all you need to do is meet the very low bar established in the shape of a “service plan” and you will have your child back in your custody - the whole apparatus (judges, DYFS, law guardian’s et al) consider you rehabilitated. If the “parents” do not comply, the system will without question seek next of kin for the sake of “family preservation”. With all of this being said, let’s address the issue of the apparatus that supports this system. The current case practice model does not even specifically mention ASFA. So, obviously ASFA is not the guidepost being utilized by the team of experts that are looking out for the “best interest of the child” in NJ. Most case workers do not understand that their job is to look out for the child and not the parents. The judges do not want to have their decisions overturned on appeal so they usually go for the easiest decision - reunification. As for the Law Guardians unless you are able to express your wants clearly & verbally in court which in the case of their very young clients is just not possible. Currently there are 16 States that have the Bill of Rights implemented for foster parents and 10 have them legislated into law and New Jersey is not one of them. • Alabama • Georgia • Illinois • Louisiana • Maryland • Mississippi • Missouri • Oklahoma • Tennessee • Washington We need to add New Jersey onto this list….Please sign this petition.

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