The New York City Administration for Children’s Services, known as ACS, is the agency that investigates reports of child abuse and neglect. ACS can remove your child if the agency has determined after an investigation that the child is at immediate and serious risk of harm if left in your care.
Anyone may report what they believe is child abuse or neglect. For instance, a parent can report another parent. A neighbor or another family member may also file a report. Reports can be made anonymously.
When someone makes a report, ACS begins an investigation to determine if the report is true and the child is safe at home. An ACS caseworker will visit the child’s home and speak with the parents, the child, and anyone else who may have relevant information.
If the child is determined to be unsafe, ACS might attempt to work with the family in creating a safety plan for the child. This could include placing the child with an extended family member for a short period without going to court. If the ACS determines that the child is not safe at any point during their investigation, they are required to conduct an emergency removal if it’s during a time when Family Court is not in session.
When Might ACS Remove a Child From the Home?
ACS could remove your child from your home before going to court. If this happens, you can go to the family court where your child was taken and ask for a preliminary hearing. You have a right to this immediate, pre-trial hearing (“1028 hearing”) to apply for the return of your child. You should immediately request one and have an experienced New York family law attorney represent you in the case as soon as possible.
What is a 1028 Hearing?
The 1028 hearing is typically held within three days of the child’s removal on suspicion of neglect or abuse. You have the right to the following when contesting the ACS’s removal of your child:
- A lawyer
- A copy of the petition
- The names of the caseworker
- The name of the Law Guardian
- The location and contact information of the foster care agency in child removal cases
- Regular visits with the child unless restricted
- To request that an extended family member be considered as a competent foster parent
You only get one chance at a 1028 hearing. This is why it’s critical that you have an attorney who regularly handles these hearings in your corner. A skilled attorney will be able to anticipate the type of case the ACS will present and put forth the evidence needed for your defense. Don’t try to handle this alone. The Mandel Law Firm can help.
How The Mandel Law Firm Can Help
If you have had your child taken from you or if ACS is investigating you, it’s important that you secure legal counsel as soon as you can. At any stage in ACS investigation, there are opportunities for a skilled and experienced attorney to advocate for you and your family. Parents who have been accused of abuse or neglect can become overwhelmed with fear and anxiety, even if they’ve done nothing wrong.
The New York child abuse, neglect, and removal lawyers at The Mandel Law Firm have extensive experience handling child removal cases. There are many stages in these proceedings, and you will probably have to go to court a number of times. As we guide you through every step of the process, we will answer any questions you may have along the way.
Call (646) 770-3868 now for a confidential consultation, during which we will explain your rights and how we can be an advocate for you. Our attorneys are committed to making sure you are treated fairly by the ACS.