The New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) is responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of children in this state. If someone reports possible child abuse or neglect, the DCPP must investigate the allegations to determine if the child is in danger. Being under investigation is stressful for parents, which is why many of them are eager to know how long it will take DCPP to close their case. Here’s what you should expect:
When Does An Investigation Begin?
The DCPP typically launches an investigation into allegations of child abuse or neglect within 24 hours of receiving the complaint. In some cases, the timeframe is even shorter. If the DCPP believes a child is in immediate danger, the agency will launch an investigation within hours. Most investigations begin with the DCPP reaching out to the parents, so you will immediately find out if you are under investigation.
When Will the Investigation End?
The first stage of the investigation must be completed within 14 calendar days. At this point, the investigator must have enough evidence to determine if it is necessary to launch a formal investigation into the allegations. If the agency moves forward with a formal investigation, it must be completed within 60 days of the initial report.
Some investigations simply cannot be completed within this 60-day timeframe. If an investigator needs more time, he must ask for an extension, which is only granted if the investigator can “establish good cause.” For example, if the investigator cannot complete the investigation because he is waiting to receive important information from law enforcement, an extension will most likely be granted. Extensions are also granted if the investigation is on hold pending information from a medical examiner or physician. If an extension is granted, the investigation can continue for another 30 days. But, the investigator can ask for additional extensions if more time is needed.
Time Limits on Appeals
The case can continue long after the investigation is over if the parent accused of child abuse or neglect appeals the DCPP’s findings. The appropriate paperwork must be filed within 20 days after being notified of the DCPP’s findings. If the appeal is not filed within this timeframe, you could lose the opportunity to fight the DCPP’s decision.
Are you being investigated by the DCPP? If so, seek legal representation from Williams Law Group, LLC at once. Our compassionate attorneys will aggressively protect your rights through every step of the investigation. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.