The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) falls under the purview of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. Formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), this department of the state government is tasked with investigating allegations of child abuse or neglect.
If you are facing a DCPP investigation, let an experienced family law attorney represent your best interests. Dealing with these investigations can be stressful, but the outcome does not have to be devastating to you or your family. At the Williams Law Group, LLC, a Maplewood DCPP/DYFS lawyer could help protect your rights and advise you throughout the process.
DCPP investigators do not have unilateral authority to enter a home or force parents to accept safety precaution plans. If they have not obtained a court order, the investigators do not have the power to force a parent to do anything. That said, refusing investigators access often leads to a request for court intervention.
Whether or not to comply with a DCPP request is a tough question. It is best to consult a skilled attorney who has experience with DCPP/DYFS proceedings in Maplewood. The lawyers at our firm could provide useful guidance on whether it is best to cooperate on what to do when investigators come calling.
While they cannot do so on their own, DCPP could pursue legal action to remove a child from their home or even terminate parental rights permanently. This is a last resort for the courts, but it is possible. Additionally, DCPP can place children into foster care with court approval pending an investigation.
If the courts ultimately decide that a parent cannot provide a safe environment, a judge could order the child to be put up for adoption. However, parents will have an opportunity to fight for their children in court. In these situations, it is crucial to get dedicated representation from a Maplewood DCPP/DYFS attorney.
When DCPP initiates a case, it must follow a set pattern of hearings. The first step is the Order to Show Cause, at which time a Complaint is filed by the Division. These documents will set out the state’s case for abuse or neglect against a parent. In this complaint, the state can request the temporary removal of a child from their parent’s custody pending an investigation.
Next comes the Return Order to Show Cause. This hearing occurs soon after the case begins and provides the family with a chance to return the child to their home. The judge will determine if DCPP has enough evidence to continue pursuing their case. They will also determine where the child will stay as the case plays out.
After the discovery process and a series of intermediate hearings, the court will make a final decision at the fact-finding hearing. At this hearing, the judge will determine whether abuse or neglect occurred and what steps the parents should take to restore their rights. If DCPP ultimately determines separation is necessary, they will file additional legal action to terminate parental rights. At every step of this process, guidance from a knowledgeable DCPP/DYFS lawyer in the area could be key in protecting a parent’s rights.
If you are the target of a DCPP investigation, it is in your best interests to seek legal counsel right away. These investigations can move quickly and have a tremendous impact on your rights as a parent.
Do not put your parental rights at risk by talking to DCPP on your own. Call a Maplewood DCPP/DYFS lawyer today. At Williams Law Group, our legal team is here to help protect you and your family.