What Happens During a DCPP Interview?

As a divorced parent, the welfare of your child is likely one of your highest priorities, but the government may be called to investigate if your kid’s safety is in question. The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), conducts investigations into the safety of children in the state of New Jersey.

If your ex-spouse is alleging that you have created an unsafe environment for your child or endangered them in any way, your custody rights may be at risk, and you may wonder what happens during a DCPP interview. However, with a dedicated family law attorney at your side, you could fight to retain custody of your child and protect their best interests.

Why a DCPP Interview is Happening

Common complaints leading to DCPP interviews include allegations of physical abuse, neglect, or the abuse of drugs or alcohol. Whenever the division receives complaints, it is their duty to investigate. Complaints can be submitted through a hotline or by calling 911 if the child is in immediate danger. The New Jersey DCPP typically interviews the affected child and their parents, guardians, or caretakers, and they may begin investigating without warning.

While DCP&P caseworkers are permitted to begin their investigation without warning and enter the child’s residence without a warrant, they are required to inform parents that a complaint has been made. Parents are not required to answer an investigator’s questions or sign any paperwork from the division without legal counsel. As soon as an investigation begins, parents should immediately contact their family law attorney to protect their rights.

What the DCPP May Ask a Parent

The DCPP may ask questions about a parent’s history with and current use of drugs and alcohol. Additionally, a parent may be asked if they have previously been investigated by the DCPP or any law enforcement agency for domestic violence allegations. Any records of such issues will be researched by the division. The DCPP may also ask about the living conditions of the child, including questions regarding the child’s behavior or school performance. The DCPP may also ask to look around the house to make sure that living conditions are safe for a child.

What the DCPP May Ask a Child

The DCPP investigators frequently interview the child involved with the complaint, usually in private. While parents may lawfully refuse an interview with a caseworker, the DCP&P has the right to interview any child who is suspected to be in an unfit situation. This can include questions such as if the child has witnessed their parents consuming drugs or alcohol. Investigators may also ask to interview other important figures in the child’s life, such as teachers and pediatricians.

The Results of a DCPP Interview

The results of these interviews vary from case to case. Some inquiries may result in recurring visits from a caseworker or other state-appointed professional, while other cases might result in the removal of the child from the home. Having a caseworker come to your door can be a scary situation, and you may fear that you will lose your rights as a parent. However, an experienced family law attorney could guide you through an investigation and help you fight for your child.

Our dedicated legal team at Moskowitz Law Group has experience working with the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency and could help you understand what happens during a DCPP interview. Call right away for a consultation.

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