West Caldwell DCP&P/DYFS Lawyer
The New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), formally known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) is the division of the state government responsible for investigating reports of alleged child neglect or abuse. They take legal action against parents and guardians who allegedly mistreat their children. Understandably, finding out you are under investigation by DCP&P can be a uniquely harrowing experience, regardless of whether you have any history of legal trouble..
DCP&P often conducts investigations and takes action quickly, and in some cases immediately, so do not delay in seeking legal guidance from our seasoned family attorneys if you suspect you may be subject to a DCP&P investigation and/or a legal proceedings. Having one of our knowledgeable West Caldwell DCP&P/DYFS lawyers on your side could be vital not only to protecting your short-term best interests, but also to preserving your relationship with your children in the long term.
How Do DCP&P Investigations Work?
Virtually all DCP&P investigations stem from allegations against a child’s parents or guardians that indicate unsafe conditions or a referral from a mandatory reporter. Unlike other states where only individuals in certain professions like healthcare workers and school employees are mandatory reporters, every New Jersey resident is required to report reasonable suspicions of child neglect or abuse to DCP&P.
Every report made to DCP&P must go through an initial screening process, which determines whether there is sufficient evidence to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred. DCP&P workers assigned to these referrals typically respond within three (3) to five (5) working days after receiving the report. In some cases, however, reports are acted upon immediately or within 24 hours.
DCP&P must come to a conclusion and issue a finding of “unfounded,” “not established,” “established,” or “substantiated” within sixty (60) days from the beginning an investigation unless a 30-day extension is granted for cause. New Jersey Administrative Code §3A:10-7.3(c) provides specific criteria necessary to justify each of the aforementioned findings, all of which our West Caldwell DCP&P attorneys can explain to you in further detail.
How to Respond to DCP&P in West Caldwell
Remaining calm and respectful are imperative attributes anyone facing an investigation by DCP&P to improve their chances of a positive final outcome. Any overly hostile or aggressive person, especially retaliation against someone who may have been the one who filed a report with DCP&P in the first place, could serve as evidence in favor of a “substantiated” finding. This could lead to significant legal sanctions that could include the loss of visitation or custody rights.
The first priority for anyone in West Caldwell who finds themselves in this type of situation should be retaining an experienced attorney who could interact with DCP&P officials and advocate on their behalf. Support from legal counsel can be vital to effectively preserving a defendant’s rights while remaining reasonably cooperative with investigators.
Contact a West Caldwell DCP&P/DYFS Attorney for Assistance Now
Being accused of abusing or neglecting your child can have immense repercussions in your short-term and long-term future. No matter what, you may be putting yourself at risk of unnecessary sanctions if you attempt to progress through an investigation of this nature without dedicated legal representation.
Our West Caldwell DCP&P/DYFS lawyers could provide the custom-tailored support that may be necessary to achieve the best possible resolution in your unique situation. Schedule a private consultation by calling today.