New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), exists to ensure the protection and safety of all children. The agency has the power to remove a child from their parent or guardian’s home when abuse or neglect are uncovered.
Parents and guardians under investigation for child abuse or neglect are in a very serious situation and should therefore maintain their composure when communicating with DCPP officials. Many parents allow their emotions to interfere with their judgment, which can prolong the investigation period and increase the risk of their child being removed from their home. Cooperation and collaboration with child services officials is vital for a successful outcome.
Common Mistakes Parents Make in a DCPP/DYFS Investigation
It is the responsibility of the DCPP team to fully investigate all claims of suspected abuse and neglect, and to keep the best interests and safety of the children involved in the case as their main priority. Parents suspected of child abuse or neglect often make mistakes that can lead to serious consequences for their family.
- Failing to seek legal counsel: When DCPP or DYFS contacts a parent, there is an immediate need for legal counsel. Even if the case does not land in a courtroom, parents need to rely on the advice of an experienced legal advocate. Failing to seek legal counsel can result in decisions being made to remove a child from the home. An experienced and qualified family DCPP lawyer can work to keep the case out of the court system and to remedy whatever issues need to be addressed.
- Assuming the investigation is limited to the charges: Parents unfamiliar with the process of a DCPP investigation often mistakenly believe that officials will only investigate the specific charges made against them. This is not the case. It is the responsibility of the child protective team to thoroughly investigate all areas of the child’s life, which includes their living conditions, parental history of abuse or domestic violence, how well the child is nourished, and who is left in charge of the child. They will also investigate the child’s medical history, school attendance, and behavioral health.
- Losing control over your emotions: Child protective officials understand that an investigation is an emotional process for a parent or guardian. However, this does not justify angry outbursts or difficulty cooperating with the investigation. Uncontrolled emotions from parents are often red flags to investigators. When parents cannot maintain their composure or control their anger with adults, child protective officials may also question their ability to control their emotions when dealing with a child.
- Refusing to cooperate with an investigation: A parent who refuses to allow investigators into their home or otherwise cooperate with an investigation is making one of the biggest mistakes they can make. DCPP officials will proceed with their investigation, even when they have to utilize police involvement and the court system. This type of parental behavior results in a high risk that the child will be removed from the home.
Cherry Hill DCPP Lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Offer Legal Counsel to Families During DCPP Investigations
If you are facing an investigation by DCPP officials, do not delay. Contact Cherry Hill DCPP lawyer, Ted Baker, at 856-795-9400 to schedule a consultation today or contact us online. Our Cherry Hill offices serve clients throughout South Jersey.