New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) Lawyer
Child abuse and neglect accusations could result in permanent separation from your children or even jail time. If you are involved in a child protection case, or if allegations of abuse are made against you, you may need to speak with a family law attorney right away.
Making the right legal decisions and understanding your rights may improve your chances of a positive outcome. A New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) lawyer could fight for you under various problematic circumstances.
How Do Child Protection Cases Begin?
The Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) was previously called the New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), but its purpose remains the same: to investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect. These cases typically begin with community members reporting suspected abuse or neglect. Medical professionals can then take immediate protective custody of a child if abuse is suspected.
Children are not usually removed from their home immediately, but DCPP may conduct an investigation. An investigator might offer services to the family, ask a judge to place children in foster care, or report abuse to a criminal prosecutor.
DCPP cases that go to court often take a long time to resolve and may be complex. Since the consequences of these cases may be severe, parents or other involved individuals may wish to have an NJ DCPP attorney advocate for them.
What Constitutes Abuse and Neglect of a Child?
New Jersey Revised Statutes §9-6:1 defines abuse, cruelty, and neglect as any of the following actions:
- Inflicting unnecessarily severe corporal punishment
- Causing a child unnecessary pain or suffering, including mental distress
- Failing to care for and keep control of a child
- Using excessive physical restraint on a child
- Allowing a child to be exposed to obscene or indecent behavior
- Employing a child in an environment that is harmful
Rights of Parents and Other Individuals Investigated by DCPP
Even seemingly minor cases might result in consequences such as a parent’s placement on a child abuse registry. Such consequences can impact employment, relationships with children, and more.
Rights Related to Providing Information
Investigators are generally allowed to interview household members, children, teachers, and the child’s doctor. Investigators seeking medical or other records about the child may request a signed release from parents. Any information provided may be used in court.
Parents have the right to refuse to speak with investigators and may also refuse to sign a release. However, refusing to provide this information will not stop an investigation. A child neglect lawyer in New Jersey could help a parent make the right decisions for their particular situation.
Other Parental Rights
Parents have other rights during a child protection investigation case and court proceedings, including:
- The right to information like the names and phone numbers of investigators
- The right to understand what services are being offered to the family
- The right to consultation with a lawyer, or to have legal counsel advocate for them in court
How a New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) Attorney Could Help
Having your family involved in a DCPP case can be frightening, and even the earliest stages of an investigation may significantly affect a case’s outcome. Signing documents or other decisions early in a case could result in the loss of valuable rights.
A New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency lawyer might give you valuable and advice and work to protect you in court. Call today and get someone to fight for you.