1. You have the right and the responsibility to know exactly what you need to do to get your children back. In particular, you should know
What you have been ordered to do.
How much time you have to do it in.
What will happen if you do not comply with an order. Comply means do what an order says.
- Who can help you.
The fastest way to get your children back if they are in foster care is to do all of the things that ACS and the court tell you to do.
2. You have the right and the responsibility to understand the steps in a child protective proceeding. There are many stages and steps in the proceeding. You will probably have to go to court several times. Ask your lawyer to explain each step. Read the material provided by LIFT or another agency.
3. You are responsible for keeping in contact
with your children if they are in foster care. Keep in contact means talk to or visit. If you do not keep in contact with your children for many months, ACS can ask that your parental rights be terminated
(TER-min-aye-ted). This means you will no longer have the right to talk to or visit your children. You must tell ACS where you are at all times.
4. You are responsible for making plans for your children to return to your home. This means you must make your home safe for them, and you must be able to meet their emotional, physical, educational, medical, and financial needs.
5. You have the right to know and meet your children’s teachers, health providers, and mental health providers while they are in foster care.
6. You have the right to report complaints about ACS, foster care agencies, or your lawyer.
- To report complaints about ACS or a foster care agency, call (212) 676-9421.
- To report a complaint about your lawyer:
- If his or her office is in Queens, Staten Island, or Brooklyn, call (718) 923-6300.
- If his or her office is in Manhattan or the Bronx, call (212) 401-0800.
For more information or support, call the Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP) at (212) 348-3000.