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The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP)—which was previously known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS)—oversees all investigations into child neglect and abuse throughout New Jersey. The Division could initiate legal proceedings that could put your rights as a parent at risk.
If you have been accused of abuse or neglect, now is the time to seek the guidance of our skilled child abuse attorneys. The consequences of an unfavorable outcome in these cases can be severe, but you might be able to make the case that these allegations are unfounded with the help of a Livingston DCPP/DYFS lawyer.
There are numerous acts that could constitute abuse or neglect under New Jersey law. The most common examples involve an individual harming a child either physically or emotionally. This could be with or without intent.
Abuse could also be sexual in nature, or it could involve any conduct that puts a child at risk of harm. Abandoning a child is common example of neglect, along with failing to provide adequate care and nutrition for the child.
Anyone accused of abusing or neglecting a child should contact a DCPP/DYFS attorney in Livingston as soon as possible.
On its own, DCPP does not have the power to terminate parental rights or remove a child from their home. However, investigators do have the ability to seek court approval to take these extreme actions. While this is an act of last resort by the courts, it is not uncommon for a judge to place a child into foster care while the DCPP investigates allegations of severe neglect or abuse.
There are different options in front of a judge in these cases. The New Jersey court could order the child into foster care temporarily, giving the parents an opportunity to address the issues that is creating harm for the child. In severe cases, the court could move to terminate parental rights completely and put the children up for adoption. A Department of Child Protection and Permanency attorney in Livingston could help a parent refute the termination of their rights.
Parents do retain many of their rights during the course of an investigation. As is the case with law enforcement, DCPP investigators lack the authority to force a parent to do anything in many situations. Parents have the right to reject DCPP requests to allow their investigators access to the home or their children, but refusing to cooperate might not always be the best option.
If parents do not cooperate with an investigation, investigators have the power to seek court intervention. With a court order in hand, DCPP investigators can enter a home, speak with the children, and move forward with their investigation regardless of the parent’s consent.
The decision to comply with an investigation should not be made lightly. Before a parent makes the decision on whether to comply with DCPP/DYFS or not, it could benefit them to speak with a diligent Livingston attorney.
If you are facing an investigation, it is important that you have strong legal counsel on your side. The consequences of these investigations are serious, and a misstep could permanently harm your parental rights in the future. Reach out to a Livingston DCPP/DFYS lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights as a parent.