Is Your Child in Foster Care? Know Your Rights

Written by Jonathan Breeden

August 14, 2020

Children in North Carolina enter foster care for all sorts of reasons. But it usually centers around parents being unable to care for their children – at least in the short term. For example, your child may enter foster care if you are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, mental illness, or homelessness and cannot rely on the other parent, a family member, or a friend to care for your child. Your child may also be removed due to abuse, neglect, or your physical or psychological incapacity to care for them.

Having a child in foster care is hard on everyone, and it is essential to know your parental rights.

In addition to knowing your rights a s parent, you may need to work with a family lawyer, with experience dealing with the Department of Social Services (DSS), foster care system, and termination of parental rights.

If you have questions about getting your child out of foster care in North Carolina or exercising your rights as a parent, do not hesitate to contact an experienced child custody attorney at Breeden Law Office.

With over 20 years experience and local offices in Raleigh, Garner, Angier, and Smithfield, attorney Jonathan Breeden has helped countless individuals successfully resolve faster care and parental rights issues.

Call (919) 205-5254 today or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

What to Expect if Your Child is In Foster Care

Foster care is meant to be temporary while you fix certain issues. Regardless of whether your child’s placement was voluntary or involuntary, your parental rights have not been terminated. Even if they were removed for serious allegations, you still have certain rights and responsibilities regarding your child.

Depending on the situation, you may be able to maintain communication. This could include speaking on the phone or visiting your child, though communications may be brief, pre-scheduled, and supervised. If DSS believes you are a danger to your child, then it may ask a court to suspend your right to communicate with or visit your son or daughter.

When your child is in foster care and your parental rights have not been terminated, you should work with a lawyer to make sure you can maintain a relationship.

As a parent, you still have the right to:

  • An attorney
  • Be informed of any legal processes regarding your child’s custody
  • Information regarding any changes related to your case
  • Be informed of your child’s health, development, and schooling
  • Speak for yourself during any court or administrative process regarding your child
  • Help develop a plan with a caseworker, which may enable you to bring your child home
  • Services that will help you bring your child home
  • Receive fair treatment regardless

DSS Must Keep You Informed

DSS cannot take custody of your child and then leave you in the dark. If your county’s social services are not communicating with you or refuse to give you information about your child or your case, you need to call an attorney right away.

Can DSS Terminate Your Parental Rights?

North Carolina’s foster system is meant to provide temporary care for children until they can be reunited with their parents or other family members. However, there are times when DSS decides to ask a court to involuntarily terminate your parental rights.

If social services takes this action, you will receive notice from the court that a petition to terminate your parental rights has been filed and provide you with a court date.

Whether you want to regain custody or agree to the termination, you should speak with an attorney and attend the court hearing. The termination of your parental rights is almost always permanent. Once your parental rights are gone, you have no responsibilities or rights regarding your child whatsoever. You will not be able to see or talk with them. They can be adopted by another adult.

Why Work with a Family Lawyer

An experienced family lawyer can articulate how you addressed the issues that led to your child’s removal. They can also assert your rights and show how being in your custody is in the child’s best interests, rather than staying in the foster care system.

To get your child out of foster care in Johnston, Harnett, and Wake Counties, call Breeden Law Office right away. Attorney Jonathan Breeden has represented many families during DSS investigations and assisted many parents in bringing their children home.

Contact Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation.


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