Healthy New Jersey

Office of the Public Defender

Office of Parental Representation

Located within the NJOPD, the Office of Parental Representation (OPR) provides legal representation to a parent or legal guardian in a Family Court case when the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP, formerly DYFS) 1) files a complaint against him or her alleging neglect or abuse of a child (a "Title 9" case) or 2) files a complaint against him or her seeking to terminate his or her right to custody of, or contact with, a child (a "Title 30" case, also called a "Guardianship" or "TPR" case).

Cases of alleged neglect or abuse often start with DCPP removing a child/children form a parent's care.  DCPP must then go to Family Court to justify the removal and to obtain authority to place the child/children on an emergency or temporary basis with foster or "resources" parents.  DCPP commences a Termination of Parental Rights/Guardianship case after a court makes a finding of neglect or abuse and further concludes that a parent cannot remedy the problem(s) that led to the placement of a child outside the home within the time frames mandated by state and federal law.

OPR attorneys advocate for parents in order to 1) promote family reunification with the earliest possible return of the child/children to his/her/their parents, 2) defend parents against DCPP civil charges, 3) help parents obtain visitation with their children, and 4) assist parents in acquiring counseling and other services from state and non-governmental agencies.  Alternatively, OPR attorneys work with parents to secure placement of a child/children with a relative agreeable to the parents.

In addition to providing legal representation through both staff attorneys and contracted "pool" attorneys, the OPR employs administrative staff and investigators both to identify services and programs to promote the goals of family reunification and to provide traditional investigative services.

The OPR Appellate office handles appeals from final decisions in Title 9 and Title 30 cases in which clients received representation from OPR staff or pool attorneys.

The current Director of the OPR is First Assistant Public Defender Robyn A. Veasey

Click here for a listing of the OPR offices.   

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