Parents may hear a lot of terms that they are not familiar with during the course of a DCPP case. Not being able to understand what the DCPP is saying can make it hard for parents to keep track of what’s going on in their case. For this reason, it’s important for parents to learn some of the keywords that may come up from time-to-time, including the term “collateral contacts.” Here’s what parents should know about this common phrase:
What Are Collateral Contacts?
During the investigation, the DCPP will talk to a number of parties about the allegations of abuse and neglect. Obviously, the DCPP will want to talk to the parents and children named in the allegations. They may also want to speak with people that are in the child’s life, but not a part of the child’s family. These people are referred to as collateral contacts, or sometimes simply collaterals.
Each case can have multiple collateral contacts. Some of the most common collateral contacts that are involved in DCPP investigations include child care providers, distant relatives, neighbors, teachers, nannies, therapists, local law enforcement officers, and doctors.
When Are Collaterals Contacted?
The DCPP will contact collaterals when they believe that these parties can provide crucial information related to the case. These contacts can sometimes provide specific information about the abuse or neglect, whereas in other cases, the contacts can only provide information about the family dynamics. Either way, collateral contacts play an important role in DCPP investigations.
Talking to collateral contacts helps the DCPP understand exactly what is going on within the family home, the relationship between the parents and children, and the severity of the situation. For example, a neighbor may tell the DCPP that he constantly hears the parents that are under investigation yelling and insulting his children. This information would be useful to a caseworker that is investigating claims of abuse.
Collaterals can be contacted at any point in the investigation. In fact, the DCPP can even contact the collaterals before they have visited the family’s home. The contact must be made either in person or over the phone—the DCPP is not allowed to communicate with collateral contacts via mail.
Has the DCPP accused you of child abuse or neglect? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Let our skilled attorneys protect your rights as a parent and keep your family together. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at [email protected], or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.