In some cases, ACS will file a neglect or abuse case against a young person who is parenting while in foster care.
If ACS files a neglect or abuse case against you, you have the right to have a lawyer defend you. If you find out that there is a plan to remove your child from your custody and care or that a neglect or abuse case is being filed against you, contact your lawyer right away. If ACS removes your child from your care, the agency must hold a conference (either before removal or immediately following an emergency removal), at which ACS will explore any relatives as resources for placement of your child before the agency looks for non-family foster homes, so be sure to give your caseworker the names of family or friends you would like to care for your child until your child can return to you.
If you have not yet appeared in court but know that ACS is investigating you or plans to remove your child from your care, you also can contact your foster care attorney or one of the organizations in the resource guide at the back of this handbook for legal and other assistance before to going to court.
If you already appeared in court on the case ACS filed against you, you were assigned an attorney by the judge. If you don't know the name of your lawyer, you can contact one of the following three organizations in New York City that provide attorneys for most parents in neglect and abuse cases. If none of these organizations has your case, you may have been assigned an attorney on the 18-b panel. Contact the Family Court in your borough to find out if you have an 18-b attorney.
Center for Family Representation
(cases filed in Manhattan and Queens)
(212) 691-0950 x228 or x247
(cases filed in the Bronx)
Brooklyn Family Defense
(cases filed in Brooklyn)