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You must prove to the court that you are a good parent. In the eyes of the court, this means that you have completed your reunification requirements and your child is not at risk of harm. Keep in regular contact with your child and do everything possible to meet these requirements.
Take advantage of any classes, groups or programs that your jail or prison offers,
Take advantage of any classes, groups or programs that your jail or prison offers,such as anger management, N.A., A.A., parenting, creative arts, GED, etc. The court may order reunification for up to 18 months. However, these court-ordered services can be limited to six months if your child was under the age of three years old when s/he entered foster care.
Reunification Services help you to remain in contact with your child through:
When Reunification Services Will Not Be Offered
The court can decide not to offer these services in any of the following situations:
Keep in regular contact with your child and do everything possible to meet all reunification requirements.
The court will not offer you reunification services if it finds your relationship with your child to be detrimental. To find detriment, the court looks at:
Getting Your Child Back after You Are Released
After you have been released from custody, the process that you follow to get your child back will depend on how much the court was involved in the placement of your child.
You have the right to a free, court-appointed lawyer. To help your lawyer work for you, you should:
You must get the court's permission to get your child back. To do this, you should ask the court to terminate or rescind the legal guardianship. If you take your child without the permission of the legal guardian or the court, you could be prosecuted for child stealing. Your probation or parole could also be revoked.
If legal guardianship is done through CPS, you may have the right to a free lawyer. If not, you should try to obtain legal assistance once you are released from jail or prison. Call the local Bar Association to find out what free legal representation services are available in your county. You can also call the Family Law Facilitator to do the process on your own, pro per.
You are still the legal caregiver of your child. Your child can live with you as soon as you are released. However, you should revoke the caregiver affidavit and the Power of Attorney. You do not have the right to a free lawyer. You should try to obtain legal assistance once you are released from jail or prison. Call the local Bar Association to find out what free legal representation services are available in your county.
If your child is not returned to you at the first court date after your release, do not give up! This is an important time for you and your family. Your child will want you to keep trying.
Work towards gradually increasing your visits with your child and making her feel comfortable with you. Once the court sees that your supervised visits are going well, you may be able to take your child for an afternoon, then an entire day, then an overnight visit, and then a weekend visit.
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
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