If you are having trouble with Children & Youth Services,
I can help.

Gregory S. Ghen, Esquire, represents parents in dependency cases involving children and youth services or agenices. He is the chairman of the parent attorney subcommitte of the Berks County Children’s Roundtable.

What is “DEPENDENCY”? All children from birth to adulthood dependent on their parents for the necessities of life: food, shelter, clothing, love, a stable and nurturing environment, and so on.

When a parent or parents fail to provide the necessities of life to a child or children, the child becomes “DEPENDENT” on someone else to have those needs satisfied.

Often that third party is the CountyChildren and Youth Service or Agency.

If the county has received a report of neglect or abuse it CAN and WILL conduct an investigation. That investigation can lead to criminal charges which is why you should contact Attorney Ghen before talking to a county representative or “caseworker”.

If the county believes their is sufficient reason to declare your child or children dependent, it will petition with the county court seeking to have your children declared dependent and take custody of them from you, the parent. YES — your children CAN be removed from your home and given to other adults to care for them.

Your child or children will be appointed his, her, or their own attorney who is called a “Guardian A Litem” which means the guardian during the litigation.

The prodecures for dependency include ther ageny having their experts evaluate you the parent(s) and the children to deteremine if any mental health issues exist. These are the experts of the county – not your experts.

There exist procedures and laws to protect your rights as a parent – and Attorney Ghen is familiar with them. For example:

  1. You may be able to have other family members act as foster parents (kinship care).
  2. There also exists a procedure for having the entire family or close friends to develop a plan to assist the parents to provide for the needs and proper care of the children. This is called Family Group Decision Making (FGDM).
  3. Even if your children are determined by the court to be dependent, it IS possible for the court to order that they remain in your custody,at home, while services are provided to assist the family.

As this is a complicated area of law, you need to call Attorney Ghen as soon as possible.

Call Attorney Ghen at 610-670-0999 or email him at gghen@ghenlegal.com to schedule your FREE courtesy consultation at his office.