The Weight of Words in Child Welfare Investigations
CPS must investigate all reports of child abuse or neglect it, even if they are anonymous. The source of the report—or the credibility of the reporter—doesn’t influence protocol. Unfortunately, that means any person with ill-intent could call CPS to prompt an investigation. In some cases, those reports are completely unfounded and made by individuals who wanted to retaliate or get revenge against the parent. Nevertheless, caseworkers must swoop in and disrupt the lives of the parents before they can let them be. This protocol works to ensure child abusers don’t slip through the cracks. But many healthy, safe families are ripped apart as collateral damage.
When Credibility Matters and When It Doesn’t
Credibility can play a significant role in child welfare investigations. CPS caseworkers take the credibility of doctors, teachers, and other professionals very seriously. But they don’t always question the credibility of the person making the allegations. It is not uncommon for a disgruntled neighbor, spouse, or partner to call CPS to retaliate or get revenge against the parent or custody of the child. This is tragically common in divorce and custody cases. New Jersey’s CPS agency (the DCP&P) accepts anonymous reports. Responding caseworkers might not know the context of the allegation making it hard to decipher fact from fiction. But credibility is a crucial element in child welfare investigations caseworkers don’t always have a chance to consider.
Taking Action Against the Allegations
If you are embroiled in a legal conflict over your child with another person—an ex-spouse for example—you should be working with an attorney. False allegations are not uncommon and can have unintended consequences. You should stand up for your rights whenever facing allegations of child abuse or neglect. An experienced New Jersey child welfare defense attorney can help you fight false allegations. One way to do this is to question the credibility of the report or of witnesses who are contributing information to the investigation. This takes some legal legwork and an understanding of DCP&P protocol, which is why it is so important to work with a knowledgeable attorney.
Are you under investigation for child abuse or neglect? The knowledgeable attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC can defend you and ensure your rights are protected. 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.