1 (800) 654-SPAN (7726), 8:00 am–4:00 pm    

Child Welfare Family Advocacy Program

In-Court Support for Parents Involved with Child Protective Services

Providing information, resources, and emotional support to parents involved in family court litigation stemming from a child protective investigation

What We Do

The goal of this Essex County-based project is to enhance parent engagement and increase the ability of families involved in Family Court and with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency to partner more effectively with professionals in the legal and casework processes, advocate on behalf of their child and families, and participate in determining the plan.

SPAN’s Family Resource Specialist (FRS)

SPAN’s Family Resource Specialist (FRS) will support families to enhance their capacity and engagement. The FRS will:

  • Engage families who are awaiting a hearing by providing information, resources, and emotional support to any parent who is involved in family court litigation stemming from a child protective investigation. The Family Resource Specialist will be located in the Essex County Courthouse family waiting area.
  • Facilitate a monthly support group open to parents whose children have been removed from their care.
  • Conduct quarterly trainings for all parents involved in family court litigation stemming from a child protective investigation on topics such as parental rights, systems navigation, coping skills, and “telling your story.”

More Information

Useful Links & Websites

SPAN Fact Sheet: Rights of Children in the Child Welfare System  |  Children with disabilities involved in the child welfare system face many challenges in accessing a quality education, often including emotional trauma. Their parents often have difficulty remaining engaged in the decision-making process. Federal and state laws provide protections that can help address these challenges and improve outcomes.

Parents’ Handbook  |  Handbook from the NJ Department of Children and Families, explains the role of CP&P workers and other staff who work together to serve families (EnglishSpanish)

A Guide for Parents: When Your Child is in Foster Care  |  From the NJ Department of Children and Families, guide for families
involved with Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P) whose children have been placed in foster care. Answers questions about why children have been removed from their parents’ care, what to expect when this happens, and how and when their children can return home. (English / Spanish)

School Stability for Children in Resource Home Care  |  Brochures, materials, laws, and more provide information on how New Jersey statute permits children to remain in their home school when they enter foster care.

Contact Us


Renee Townsend

Family Resource Specialist / Peer Advocate in the Court
(201) 249-9140
rtownsend@spanadvocacy.org

Funding for this program was made possible by the State of New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts and the US Department of Health and Human Services.