If you are involved in case with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), you may have many questions about the ongoing investigation or an upcoming trial. Regardless of the specific allegations, it is recommended that you discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney. A legal advisor could answer your questions about DCPP trials in Short Hills and help you prepare for a successful outcome to your case.
A safety and protection plan is a voluntary agreement that you enter into with DCPP. Usually, the Division will ask that you sign a safety and protection plan during the course of their investigation. Regardless of whether or not you choose to sign the agreement, you will be bound by its terms if the Division issues a safety and protection plan and does not immediately go to court.
If you sign the agreement, however, you will be held to a higher standard if you choose not to comply with it. As such, you should ask a seasoned lawyer before signing a safety and protection plan to ensure that you know your rights and are making the best decision possible for your family.
Generally speaking, hearsay is admitted in all portions of a DCPP case except at the fact-finding hearing. Any time that a caseworker is called to testify, they are generally allowed to use hearsay. However, what they cannot do is rely upon hearsay at the fact-finding hearing or rely upon testimony that has no reliability. The court will want to know that all testimony is based on some credible evidence that DCPP has secured in your case.
You are not advised to go to the media if you feel DCPP is treating you unfairly. The reason is that most information that gathered in the investigation or court proceedings will be confidential. Records generated by DCPP in its investigation and shared in trial are sealed and kept inaccessible to the public.
Therefore, any information you share with the media can only come from your personal knowledge and not from any confidential source. It is very difficult to parse out the different types of information, so it is recommended that you share very little and consult with a well-practiced attorney.
Employees of DCPP are shielded by immunity when they are doing their jobs. Therefore, if a caseworker is performing their duty and tells them a mistruth in court, that likely does not allow you to sue them. A Division caseworker could only be sued if they are working outside the scope of their duties. Furthermore, you must be able to demonstrate that some harm came from their misrepresentation.
The court will not compel DCPP to pay your expert fees. However, if you cannot afford to pay for your own expert, you should try to work with the Division and agree on a mutually acceptable expert to do an evaluation in your case.
If DCPP will not agree with that, you may be able to pursue other options through the public defender’s office. If you qualify for their services, they may allow you an ancillary service fee, whereby you can apply for the public defender to pay for your expert through their funds. A knowledgeable attorney at our firm could discuss further questions about paying for expert fees in a Short Hills DCPP trial.
A pending DCPP trial may be intimidating, but you do not have to face these proceedings alone. By working with a dedicated lawyer, you could put yourself in a better position to achieve a positive outcome in your case. If you have questions about DCPP trials in Short Hills, call our legal team today.