In July 2012, the ACLU-NJ submitted an amicus brief in support of a father whose parental rights are to be terminated because of his prior incarceration. The family court ruled in the father’s favor, because the child had not been endangered by the father, who was willing to eliminate the harm caused by his incarceration. DYFS had not made reasonable efforts to provide services to the father and terminating the relationship would do more harm than good. The appellate court reversed the decision, holding circumstances related to the father’s incarceration against him. The ACLU-NJ and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice argue that the appellate court improperly substituted its judgment of the evidence and that DYFS has the same duty to provide services to incarcerated parents as it has to other parents. Amici urged the Supreme Court to direct DYFS to develop standard procedures for providing family reunification services to incarcerated or recently incarcerated parents. The court held that DYFS failed to prove through clear and convincing evidence that the father's parental rights should be terminated.
- RG & JG: Amicus Brief (406 KB pdf)