The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) is the New Jersey state agency responsible for keeping children safe from abuse and neglect. Formerly known as DYFS, it is housed within the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF).
The DCPP is obligated to investigate every allegation of child abuse and neglect within 24 hours of receiving a report. The DCPP is not immune to error, which can lead to terrible consequences for children and their families, both in cases where the agency failed to prevent abuse and where abuse is assumed where none existed. In both instances, families have the right to file a complaint against the DCPP.
Start With Your Caseworker
If you have a complaint about how your case is being managed, it is best to start with your caseworker. If your complaint concerns your caseworker, then start with the agency supervisor. If you do this through an in-person conversation, follow up with a written email thanking that person for their time and documenting what was said. This creates a record of your complaint that includes the day and time.
While pursuing your complaint, you must comply with everything your caseworker asks. You may need to go through the chain of command and write to the local office manager and area director. DCPP is a large organization with many levels of workers. You should keep good records of each person you interact with, including their name, title, and the day and time you spoke with them. This is a crucial step towards getting results.
You may contact the Office of Constituent Relations if your complaint goes unanswered. The office exists to resolve the issues and concerns of those dealing with the different agencies housed within the DCF, including the DCPP.
Suing the DCPP
In cases where extreme negligence on the part of the DCPP brought harm or death to a child who should have been protected, it is possible to sue them for their actions or inaction. However, bringing a claim against any government agency, including the DCPP, is extremely difficult because of immunity laws and the specific time limits that govern this type of lawsuit. A Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days of injury occurrence when bringing a claim against a New Jersey public entity. Failure to meet this requirement results in the case being barred forever. Those who file in time bear the burden of proving that the DCPP was negligent in their duty of care.
Navigating the DCPP complaint process is daunting and best done with the help of an experienced attorney with a proven track record of success in family law matters.
Moorestown DCPP Lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Fight for the Rights of Parents
Like any government agency, the DCPP can make mistakes. Parents and caregivers have the right to file a complaint when there have been missteps in the DCPP process, but navigating the system alone can be intimidating. Our experienced Moorestown DCPP lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker can investigate your case and advocate on your behalf. Call 856-210-9776 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Voorhees.