DCP&P Lawyers South Jersey | DYFS Attorneys
New Jersey DCP&P Lawyers Fight to Help Parents Defend Allegations of Child Abuse and Neglect in Cherry Hill, NJ
New Jersey has renamed the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P). This is the agency that investigates and takes action with respect to allegations of child abuse and neglect in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and has the authority to remove children from their parents’ custody and even terminate parental rights in extreme cases. Allegations of child abuse and neglect must be taken seriously to ensure that children are protected and living in healthy, protected environments. DCP&P is required to investigate these claims to make sure children are protected.
Despite this, in many cases, an investigation can be initiated for a minor and isolated occurrence, or because of the unjustified accusations of a third party. If DCP&P has initiated an investigation, it is important to retain the counsel of a skilled and experienced DCP&P lawyer to fight on your behalf to protect your parental rights. At Cordry Hartman, LLC, we understand how traumatic it can be when DCP&P falsely accuses you of abusing or neglecting your own child. We also know how emotionally charged these situations can be, especially when a former spouse is using the system to attempt to eliminate your parental rights.
If DCP&P has initiated a claim against you, contact a lawyer you can trust today to ensure that the investigation is conducted fairly and to explain the complexities that exist within the system as your case proceeds through the agency’s lengthy process.
What to Expect if DCP&P Initiates an Investigation in New Jersey
A DCP&P investigation can be initiated for any number of reasons, including reports of abuse or neglect, drug or alcohol use or abuse and even leaving a child alone for a few minutes. Once the process has been initiated, the department has a duty to investigate, although not all cases proceed to court. It is important to remember that even if your case has not progressed to court, you still need to retain an experienced attorney to ensure your name is not placed in state databases that could lead to long-term consequences in some cases.
The DCP&P process generally advances as follows:
- The department will investigate the situation to determine whether there is reason to believe that the parent did, in fact, abuse or neglect the child. If no cause is found, the case can be dismissed.
- If cause is found, DCP&P will file an Order to Show Cause and Complaint with the court, which will set forth the reasons why DCP&P believes abuse or neglect has occurred. The documents will provide information as to when the accused parent will be required to appear in court, and can also request that the child be removed from the home temporarily.
- In extreme situations, DCP&P can file a request to remove a child from the home on an emergency basis prior to filing the complaint, in which case the complaint must be filed the next business day.
- A preliminary hearing will be conducted, and the judge will evaluate the evidence presented by DCP&P to determine whether the case should proceed or be dismissed. The judge will also decide whether the child should be removed from the home while the case proceeds, and can order psychological evaluations, substance abuse counseling, substance abuse treatment or other services.
- If the case proceeds after the hearing, a discovery period will allow DCP&P and the accused parent’s attorney to gather information and evidence.
- After discovery, a hearing that is similar to a trial will occur where both parties will present the evidence accumulated during discovery.
- The judge determines whether the child has been abused or neglected, and presents his or her rationale.
- Another hearing, known as a dispositional hearing, will occur if the judge finds abuse or neglect. At this hearing, the judge will determine whether the child can live in the home, and may order the parent to engage in counseling, substance abuse programs or other parenting programs. An attorney can appeal any findings presented here within 45 days.
- Additional review hearings then take place to determine whether the parent is complying with the judge’s order, as well as to evaluate progress.
- After one year, if the case is still open, a permanency hearing will be held. Here, DCP&P will outline a permanent solution designed to provide the child with a stable home life. An attorney can help formulate and present alternative solutions.
Seasoned DCP&P Lawyers at Cordry Hartman, LLC Guide Clients Through the DCP&P Process in New Jersey
The DCP&P process is detailed and lengthy and does proceed with the goal of helping the parent retain custody of his or her child. Our attorneys will fight to establish a strong case for refuting the allegations of abuse in the first place, and can also help you appeal any unfavorable findings along the way. In some cases, DCP&P will place the accused parents’ names in a registry system before the judge has even rendered a final decision. This can have a detrimental effect on the parents’ ability to retain employment in childcare or education, or even in medical fields. Our attorneys can fight to have your name removed from this registry to prevent long-term negative consequences even if your case never proceeds beyond the investigative stages of the DCP&P process.
Contact an Aggressive DCP&P Lawyer to Protect Your Rights in Voorhees, NJ
Your parental rights are valuable and important, both for yourself and to ensure the future stability of your children. If DCP&P has contacted you regarding an investigation, contact our offices to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Our office is conveniently located at 505 S Lenola Rd Suite 224, Moorestown, NJ 08057. We serve clients throughout New Jersey, including in Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Voorhees, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Cumberland County, Cape May County, Salem County, and Atlantic County.
Depending upon the specific circumstances, if an appropriate relative is available to care for the child, it is possible that the child will be placed with that relative. In other cases, the child will be temporarily placed into foster care pending court review. A lawyer can help evaluate possible alternative solutions in your case.
Yes. In some cases, DCP&P can have your child removed from the home even if you have never physically abused your child, and even if no one has alleged that you have. In these cases, pending investigation of a potential substance abuse problem, you may be required to complete treatment to ensure that a drug or alcohol problem does not negatively impact the child on a prospective basis. This type of removal would be based upon the parent’s fitness to be trusted with the child’s care, and in many cases, the parent and child can be reunited after successful completion of the judge’s ordered rehabilitation program.