What Is a Substantiated Finding?

After the Investigation

For a parent involved in a child protection DYFS investigation, it is very important to understand the concerns of the child welfare agency. The findings of the investigation will determine what happens to your child and your parental rights. Once the DYFS investigation is complete, the findings will be delineated into categories. These specific categories help the agency and the courts in keeping families together and children safe. These categories are:

  • Unfounded
  • Not Established
  • Established, and
  • Substantiated

Substantiated findings are very important because they signify that the agency has determined that you have abused or neglected your child and that your conduct warrants your name being included on the Child Abuse Central Registry. Findings are substantiated if, by preponderance of the evidence, it is established that a child is abused or neglected, as defined by the law, and the circumstances under which the abuse or neglect took place are absolutely substantiated or substantiated by aggravating circumstances. This means the abuse or neglect was severe due to the type of abuse or neglect or because of other things, such as the child’s age or the effects of the abuse on the child.

Circumstances that are absolutely substantiated include:

  • Death or near death of the child
  • Sexual abuse
  • Abuse or neglect so severe that the child had to be hospitalized
  • Repeated physical abuse
  • Failure of a parent to protect a child from abuse or neglect that he or she was or should have been aware of, and
  • Neglect so severe it caused or could have caused serious harm

Aside from these circumstances, findings from an investigation can also be substantiated in light of certain facts, such as if the child was very young, the abuse or neglect was at the hands of an institution, the child had a special need or disability, or if the abuse or neglect would inevitably continue should the child stay in the home.

The findings may not be substantiated if the circumstances of the abuse or neglect were not severe, the child was not abused or neglected as defined under the statute, or if by the preponderance of the evidence the child was not found to be abuse, neglected, or harmed.

Speak with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney right away if you are involved in a child protection investigation. The findings of the investigation will have serious ramifications, and it is important to have an attorney who can inform you of your rights, help you defend them, and challenge any inconsistencies or deficiencies in the findings.

If you have questions about child protection investigations, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you with your child welfare case, making sure your child’s best interests are protected and your rights as a parent are defended. 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 info@awilliamslawgroup.com, 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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