West Caldwell Child Abuse Lawyer
Children have the right to live free from abuse and neglect at the hands of parents, family members, guardians, teachers, and even strangers. Unfortunately, not all adults provide children with a safe environment. The state aggressively pursues allegations of abuse and neglect, even in cases where these allegations are ultimately determined to be unfounded.
If you face child abuse or neglect allegations, our experienced domestic abuse attorneys can play an important role in the subsequent investigation and legal proceedings. A West Caldwell child abuse lawyer can advise you during this difficult time and work to protect your rights in matters against the Division of Child Protection and Permanency and in court.
What is Child Abuse?
The Department of Children and Families defines “abuse” as the physical, sexual or emotional harm or risk of harm to a child under the age of 18 caused by a parent or other person who acts as a caregiver for the child. The Department defines “neglect” as when a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision for a child or adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care although financially able or assisted to do so. Thus, the term “child abuse” can be used to describe a variety of circumstances. To some, the term child abuse suggests physical violence against a minor child. However, abuse can also involve a range of behavior that impacts a child’s physical or emotional wellbeing.
Although some abuse is physical, other acts of violence including verbal abuse can result in emotional trauma. This verbal abuse occurs without a person ever physically touching a child. Likewise, abuse might involve neglect that leaves a minor without the food, clothing, or medical care they need to survive.
A seasoned child welfare attorney in West Caldwell can represent clients in investigations into allegations of child abuse and determine the best legal route for parents to take.
The Department of Child Protection and Permanency
In New Jersey, the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) receives and investigates child abuse claims. Following an allegation of abuse of a minor in West Caldwell, DCPP will reach out to the parents or guardians of the child as well as to other sources to determine the validity of the allegation/report. An investigation into the allegation will begin within 24 hours of the report being made.
During an investigation, DCPP will determine whether acts of abuse or neglect occurred. Children can remain in the custody and care of the parent or guardian while the investigation is underway. However, if DCPP suspects abuse has occurred and that the child is in immediate danger, it could pursue the emergent removal of a child from their home.
If the state succeeds in evidencing during a court proceeding that a child was abused or neglected, the rights of the parents could be impacted dramatically. A skilled and experienced attorney can defend allegations of abuse or neglect against children in court.
How Does Child Abuse Impact Custody Cases in West Caldwell?
Allegations of child abuse and neglect can have ramifications in custody disputes throughout New Jersey. Whether the report is made by a parent, guardian, the court, or another third party, once DCPP is involved, the parents don’t get to call the shots. What follows is often a host of unintended consequences the parent has no control over. DCPP’s involvement can lead to the investigation of both parents. In some cases, DCPP could place the child in foster placement while they investigate the allegations.
If you fear for your child’s safety while he or she is with the other parent you can ask the family court for an order granting you temporary sole physical custody of your child or to otherwise remove the child from the other parent’s care. A parent can file such an application with the court even if a divorce is pending.
The temporary loss of physical custody of a child is not permanent. In some cases, the court may ultimately determine that the allegations were unfounded and the child is safe in the care of their parents or guardians. In other cases, a parent/guardian may be able to regain physical custody of their child after meeting conditions set by the court. Parents facing allegations of abuse or neglect should contact a skilled local lawyer to help them resolve their case as quickly and effectively as possible.
Talk to a West Caldwell Child Abuse Attorney Today
Reporting an allegation of child abuse or neglect may not be easy, especially when you believe a family member or friend is responsible. The same is true if you are currently facing allegations of child abuse.
If you or someone you know has been accused of child abuse or neglect, or if believe your child is a victim of abuse or neglect, contact the Williams Law Group, LLC, at (908) 810-1083, today and we will connect you with one of our skilled attorneys. A West Caldwell child abuse lawyer is ready to help.