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Child protective services in New Jersey is referred to as the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), or formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Service (DYFS). This agency oversees all child abuse and neglect cases in the state of New Jersey. DCPP receives referrals regarding allegations of child abuse and neglect and begin investigations within 24 hours of receiving those referrals.
The Division’s ultimate role in these cases is to determine if there is any abuse or neglect occurring or whether a child is at risk of harm based on something happening in the home. The Williams Law Group focuses on DCPP Law. If you want qualified representation in DCPP, no one compares to Attorney Allison Williams. When protecting your child, turn to our Short Hills DCPP lawyers first.
Someone may report an incident to DCPP if they have concerns that a child is being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused or is at risk of harm due to untreated mental illnesses, substance abuse or domestic violence in the home.
Anyone in the state may report a concern of abuse or neglect to DCPP. New Jersey is a mandatory reporting state which means that anyone who has a reasonable concern that abuse or neglect is occurring, is mandated to report that to the Division.
When DCPP begins an investigation, the agency sends a caseworker to the child’s home to speak with the minor and the members of the household. After that initial visit, the caseworker will then contact the relevant people in the child’s life who have additional information, including medical providers and teachers. The Division typically must complete their investigation and decide whether there was abuse or neglect within 60 days of the initial visit. However, the Division can request a 30-day extension if they are unable for any reason to complete their investigation within that time.
Although DCPP is an admirable agency, it can be one of the most complicated to understand and to navigate. If you find yourself involved with DCPP, contact our lawyers in the area for legal assistance. After reviewing your file, we could make the determination of how to proceed and keep you informed every step of the way.
If a person is being investigated by DCPP, they must allow the caseworker into their home. However, a parent or guardian being investigated does not have to speak with that caseworker regarding the allegations without a local DCPP attorney present. Therefore, this person can ask that the interview and any other requests made by DCPP take place with their Short Hills lawyer present.
The decision to accept or decline services from the Division depends on the situation, and therefore, should be addressed with an attorney as soon as possible. Overall, a parent must allow the Division to go through its process, but they can advise that they want their attorney to be involved.
DCPP ultimately decides at the end of their investigation as to whether abuse or neglect occurred. The decision falls into one of four categories as to whether abuse or neglect happened. Based on that finding, there can be possible appeal options, moving forward, which ultimately should be discussed with a lawyer.
The Family Division is complex, and unfortunately it is not uncommon to have judges in FM, FD, or FV matters review DCPP records, allow counsel – and not the parties – to review the information in court, not possess a copy of it, not show the record to the client – and then rely upon some or all of the DCPP unvetted findings in making determinations regarding custody and parenting time.
Our attorneys in Short Hills are all too aware of this situation and to this end, we guarantee that we will zealously advocate for our client’s in those situations. Our priority is to achieve the best possible outcome that we prepare in advance to avoid unvetted findings from entering into the final decision. We review DCPP records with our clients to absorb, digest and discredit agency investigative findings. We do not want you handicapped in protecting your children simply by virtue of the court’s overtaking that responsibility.
Notwithstanding the compulsory language of the statutory exceptions to confidentiality, DCPP routinely objects to disclosure of these records, necessitating seeking a court order to disseminate the records to counsel. The Williams Law Group diligently files this order and thus, if an expert conducts an evaluation, compiles third-party hearsay statements from collateral contacts and otherwise gathers discovery – information to be used at trial – our office obtains a copy well before the trial date.
The Williams Law Group fights for child welfare and advocacy. We stand behind the clients we represent and construct the best possible DCPP strategy for their particular situation. Our goal is to achieve a successful outcome for child, parent, and family. Contact our Short Hills DCPP lawyers today for a case consultation.