A visit from the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) can make anyone nervous but knowing what to expect before it happens can make the process less frightening. Formerly called DYFS, or the Division of Youth and Family Services, DCPP is required by law to investigate reports of child neglect or abuse within 24 hours after being contacted. If you have questions about what happens during a DCPP investigation, reach out to an experienced DCPP lawyer today.
Will I Be Contacted Before the Investigation?
The DCPP does not always contact parents and caregivers before visiting, and no warrant is required. When they arrive, you will want to ask for their ID first. The representative must tell you that a report was made and they are required to investigate. If you were named as the person who allegedly abused or neglected the child, the representative will tell you about the allegations. They will not tell you who made the report, though.
What Questions Do DCPP Workers Ask?
The questions asked will might make you feel awkward, uncomfortable, or defensive, but remain calm. Once you know what the allegations are, it is best to look at the situation objectively. Expect to be questioned about:
- How you meet the children’s basic needs
- How you discipline your children
- If you feel that the discipline is safe and effective
- Are there other ways that you could discipline your children
If you give permission your children will also be asked questions, to ensure that they are safe and being cared for. The answers will be compared to the information that you provide. The DCPP may ask your children questions about:
- If they are attending school
- When was the last time they had a medical checkup
- If they see their parents drinking alcohol or taking drugs
- If the parents argue with each other or yell at the children
- If the parents hit them
The investigator will also ask about the allegation. When there are indications of alcohol or drug abuse, testing may be required. The DCPP may also want to interview the child’s pediatrician.
Do I Have to Speak to the DCPP Investigator?
The person being investigated does not have to speak with the DCPP representative but if they choose to, that means that they agree to be interviewed. You do not have to allow your child to speak to the investigator either; there is no legal obligation to cooperate. You do not even have to let the representative come into your home, nor do you have to sign any paperwork.
However, DCPP can request that you be interviewed in front of a judge (you will get a copy of that request). Remember, they are not police officers, so they cannot arrest you. You do have the right to have an attorney present during the investigation process, though.
If the investigator feels that the children are in immediate danger, they can remove them from the home without a court order. That order will need to be obtained within two days, and you would have to appear in court for a hearing.
The South Jersey DCPP Lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Are Experienced with Child Protection Investigations
If you are in the midst of a DCPP investigation and need legal advice, contact the South Jersey DCPP Lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker for a confidential consultation. We can fight to protect your rights and your children’s best interests. Call our Cherry Hill, New Jersey office at 856-210-9776 or complete our online form today to schedule a confidential consultation. Our service area includes Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Voorhees, and South Jersey.