Once child abuse is reported, DCPP (formerly DYFS), New Jersey’s CPS agency, is required to initiate an investigation. That investigation may start with a call or an unannounced visit to the child’s house. Caseworkers must begin the investigation by attempting to contact the victim within 24 hours of the referral. In cases requiring an immediate response, caseworkers must contact the victim by the end of the day.
Typically, caseworkers must conclude investigations within 60 days of a referral. This may seem like a long time. DCPP investigation protocol is extensive and involves many steps. Caseworkers are required to contact collateral sources, meet with all household members, and conduct detailed safety assessments.
One factor that plays heavily into the length of the investigation is parental participation. When parents “cooperate,” investigations can conclude before 60 days. In fact, caseworkers will often encourage parents to cooperate to conclude the investigation and save them work.
To do this, caseworkers typically ask parents to agree to the allegations. This is dangerous territory for any parent. Caseworkers often mislead parents by saying DCPP/DYFS will stay out of their life if they agree to the allegations and sign a safety plan. In reality, agreeing to allegations will only give DCPP/DYFS more rights to intervene with your family.
Once a parent agrees to the allegations, DCPP/DYFS can take immediate action. It can put the child in foster placement or subject the family to safety regulations and repeated “evaluations.” The period in which parents are under scrutiny continues. And once DCPP/DYFS is involved with your family to that extent it is hard to escape its supervision.
If DCPP/DYFS has contacted you, you should take immediate action to protect your family and your privacy. Speak with an experienced New Jersey DCPP/DYFS attorney. An attorney can work with you to help you deal with DCPP/DYFS without allowing it to violate your rights. This requires you walk a fine line between cooperation and defense. But this is the most effective way of getting DCPP/DYFS out of your life.
Are you facing child abuse allegations? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can advise you of your rights and help you protect them, your child’s best interests, and your family. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.