For All the Wrong Reasons: A Look at False Child Abuse Reports

For All the Wrong Reasons: A Look at False Child Abuse ReportsWhy Do People Make False Child Abuse Reports?


Although New Jersey must investigate every child abuse referral, only a portion of those initial allegations ends up substantiated. While some unsubstantiated allegations may come from well-meaning people who believed a child might have been at risk, others come from those who fabricated allegations for the wrong reasons. Given the extensive New Jersey CPS investigation process, which is handled by the DCPP (formerly the DYFS), you would think false child abuse reports would be uncommon. Unfortunately, people make false child abuse reports for revenge, to gain the upper hand in child custody cases, and for a number of other reasons.

Knowingly making false child abuse reports is illegal. At the same time, failing to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect is too. Understandably, this puts reporters in a difficult situation. Sometimes, their judgment calls are incorrect, whether they mean it or not. False child abuse reports are also commonly made during contested custody battles. Parents may make allegations of abuse in order to get custody. Unfortunately, they are often successful when the wronged parent does not have legal representation. Nothing complicates a custody case like DCPP involvement.

How Does DCPP Handle False Child Abuse Reports?

It’s important to know that the DCPP has a duty to investigate all referrals of child abuse. Caseworkers face a detailed and lengthy case investigation process they must work through no matter the weight of the allegations. There are situations—please note they are rare—where a case might be closed without a full investigation. These situations, however, tend to involve cases that were previously open or reporters who continue to make false allegations. Because reports of child maltreatment can be made anonymously in New Jersey, it can be difficult to parse out the motivations behind the report. Unfortunately, this is just one of the limitations of the DCPP system.

What to Do in the Face of a False Child Abuse Report

If you are facing false allegations of child abuse or neglect, you need to find a legal advocate. The reporter could have made the allegations in bad faith. For this reason, it’s essential you speak with a New Jersey DCPP defense attorney And do so before talking to any DCPP representatives or letting them in your home. Caseworkers must disclose the specifics of the allegation, so make sure you get this information. This can help you and your attorney figure out who might have had motivations to make a false report against you and what you can do to clear your name.

If you have questions about false child abuse reports in New Jersey, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced child welfare attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can aggressively protect your rights and your child’s best interests. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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