The Investigation is Over: Now What?

After being under investigation for child abuse or neglect, you might feel relief once the investigation is over. But just because the active investigation process is over doesn’t mean the case is closed. The DCP&P must hold a final case conference and make a finding (i.e. conclusion) at the end of the investigation.

The Investigation is Over: Now What?The categories of findings are:

  • Substantiated
  • Established
  • Not Established
  • Unfounded

Once the agency holds the final case conference and makes a finding, it must send the parents notification of the finding. The finding will influence what happens next in the case.

If the finding is unfounded, the agency might not require you to do anything or accept any services, and you should be reunited with your child if he or she was removed from your home. The case will be closed, and you will not be reported on the child abuse registry.

If the finding is not established, established or substantiated, the DCP&P may assess your family for its strengths and weaknesses to identify your needs. Then, the agency may ask you to do certain things or accept certain services to meet those needs and mitigate any risks to your child. Examples of services the DCP&P might connect you with include financial or nutritional assistant through TANF or WIC, counseling, drug and alcohol treatment, or housing assistance. You might have to accept certain services and follow a service plan to be reunited with your child.

This process—and that of the initial investigation—can vary in length depending on the facts of your case, your specific needs, and the service plan you need to follow. At this point, you should be working with an attorney to ensure the process goes smoothly and you are not separated from your child for an undue amount of time.

If you are under investigation for child abuse or neglect, you should speak with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney about your case. What happens once the investigation is over will depend on the findings and what steps the DCP&P wants to take. An attorney can explain what these findings mean and what your rights are in regards to your case. Your attorney can also help you appeal certain decisions made by the DCP&P at the conclusion of an investigation.

Being investigated for child abuse is stressful, but the knowledgeable attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC have the experience needed to defend your rights as a parent and protect your child’s best interests. Located in Union, 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, 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.

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