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Supporting Parents in Ensuring Care for Their Children

In August 2021, New Jersey enacted a law that will improve the process for caregivers to make alternative arrangements for the care of their children when necessary. The firm collaborated with the Rutgers Child Advocacy Clinic to draft and advocate for the statute.

The new law permits parents, legal guardians, or custodians:

  • to delegate caregiving responsibilities to another adult, hopefully one well known to the child or ward, for up to a year, with the ability to renew and without the need to go to court;
  • to make alternative arrangements whenever they have become or may become unable to care for a child or ward themselves;
  • to make a delegation effective immediately or to identify an activating event, such as serious illness, immigration detention or deportation, incarceration, or deployment for military service; and
  • to use a sample form set out in the statute.

For households facing catastrophic illness, imminent deployment, and other circumstances requiring sudden separations, the law will provide some peace of mind. Caregivers who use the power of attorney will be able to avoid the emergency placement of their children in group settings or in the households of strangers, ensuring instead that they are with responsible adults known to the family.

Supporting Parents in Ensuring Care for Their Children
Sculpture and photo by Michael Stutz