What to Expect When Your DCPP Case Goes to Court
The Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) will immediately launch an investigation after receiving a report of child abuse or neglect. Sometimes, the DCPP will find that there is no evidence of child abuse or neglect. But, that’s not always the case. If there is evidence of abuse or neglect, the DCPP case goes to court. Here’s what to expect:
Complaint and Order to Show Cause is Filed
The DCPP will file a Complaint and Order to Show Cause with the court, which is a legal document that outlines the evidence they have found to support the allegations of abuse or neglect. Filing this paperwork initiates the court case.
Hearing is Scheduled
The court will schedule a hearing as soon as possible after the Complaint and Order to Show Cause is filed. The case worker assigned to your family should provide you with a copy of the original complaint and let you know when the hearing is scheduled.
The purpose of this hearing is to ensure both sides are given the opportunity to present their cases in front of a judge. The DCPP will try to convince the judge that the allegations of abuse and neglect are true, whereas you will attempt to show they are false. At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not your child should remain in your home. If the judge believes the child is not safe in your home, the out-of-home placement process will begin.
Poking Holes in the DCPP’s Case
Fighting the DCPP in court is not easy, so it’s in your best interests to hire a family law attorney instead of going head-to-head with the DCPP on your own. An experienced family law attorney can carefully review the DCPP’s case to look for potential weaknesses. Did the case worker take notes during the investigation or did she rely solely on her memory when describing events? Was testimony provided by a disgruntled family member or neighbor who is trying to hurt you by making accusations of abuse or neglect? Did the case worker fail to conduct a thorough investigation? Your attorney will answer these questions—and more—to identify issues with the prosecution’s case. Then, your attorney will present these issues during the hearing to show the court that the prosecution’s case is anything but solid.
Is your DCPP heading to court? The family law attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC have represented countless clients in court cases involving the DCPP. We will work tirelessly to protect the best interests of your family and clear your name. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at [email protected], or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.