Being investigated by the Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCPP) for suspected child abuse or neglect is a serious situation. New Jersey law mandates that the names of the parents or caregivers found to have a substantiated claim of child abuse or neglect be included on the New Jersey Child Abuse Registry. Though this registry is not available to the general public, inclusion on the Child Abuse Registry can have a significant impact on future employment opportunities and plans for adoption or fostering a child.
What is the Child Abuse Registry?
The New Jersey Child Abuse Registry is a database that contains the names of individuals found to have a substantiated claim of child abuse or neglect. When a referral comes into the DCPP, authorities have 24 hours to investigate the claim. At that time, the DCPP officials determine if the child in question is in imminent danger. If that child is indeed found to be in imminent danger, they are removed from the home pending the outcome of a thorough investigation.
If DCPP officials go to the home and determine that there are signs of child abuse or neglect, but that the child does not seem to be in imminent danger, the child and the parents or caregivers can receive support services such as counseling and care checks while the DCPP investigation continues. It is important to note that DCPP investigative outcomes have four levels, which are substantiated, established, not established, and unfounded. Only the names of the parents or caregivers that have a substantiated outcome are included on the Child Abuse Registry. The other three levels do not require inclusion on the list.
How Can Inclusion on the Child Abuse Registry Affect my Future?
Though the general public does not have access to the Child Abuse Registry, New Jersey law requires employers that serve children, the elderly, the disabled, or otherwise compromised individuals to check the Child Abuse Registry before hiring. If the applicant’s name is on the Registry, they cannot be hired. If an employer has an employee that is added to the Child Abuse Registry after being hired, the employee will be terminated from their position.
The Child Abuse Registry will also affect an individual’s ability to adopt or foster children. Inclusion on the list means there was strong evidence to support claims of child abuse or neglect, and the individual is therefore prohibited from ever adopting a child or becoming a foster parent. Substantiated child abuse or neglect charges cannot be expunged or removed from the Child Abuse Registry. Inclusion of names on this registry is permanent. Those individuals that receive notice of a substantiated result have 20 days to appeal the decision.
In some cases, first time offenders and those with mitigating factors surrounding the substantiated claims can appeal to have their findings reduced to an established level. While this level of investigative outcome supports claims of child abuse or neglect, the individual’s name will not be included on the Child Abuse Registry.
Contact a South Jersey DCPP Lawyer at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker if You Were Charged with Child Abuse or Neglect
If you are facing charges of child abuse or neglect from the DCPP, call an experienced South Jersey DCPP lawyer at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker at 856-210-9776, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Cherry Hill, New Jersey offices serve clients in Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Voorhees, and throughout South Jersey.