Child Protection and Permanency
Each state in the U.S. has a department in their government which is dedicated to protecting the welfare of children and their families. While many of us think of the term Child Protective Services, New Jersey’s governing body is referred to as the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), a division of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. There is a wide range of topics which the DCP&P covers including issues stemming from child abuse and general child mistreatment. It is important to understand your legal rights whether you believe your child may be in danger or if you are being accused of child abuse or neglect.
The family and parents’ rights attorneys of Jacobs Berger understand that issues which involve the Department of Child Protection and Permanency are of the utmost seriousness. We have extensive experience defending parents against false allegations of domestic violence as well as representing concerned loved ones when they fear for the wellbeing and safety of their children. Our firm offers strong and compassionate legal services for clients.
Call our office today for a comprehensive and confidential case assessment with one of our qualified and experienced family law attorneys if you have any legal concerns regarding the DCP&P or other issues related to the wellbeing of your children.
Child Protective Services Attorneys Identify the DCP&P
The New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency has a stated mission of protecting the safety, permanency, and overall wellbeing of families and children. Amongst the DCP&P’s many responsibilities, it has three primary functions:
Handling issues of child abuse and neglect – when the DCP&P receives a notice that a child is in a potentially dangerous situation, they will open an investigation into the matter. This topic is covered in greater detail in the following sections, but may result in children remaining in their home or placed elsewhere for their own safety.
Child adoption – many adoptions for New Jersey families are done through the DCP&P, who encourage families to consider adopting children in the public welfare system through the Office of Adoption Operations.
Placing children in foster homes – for children who cannot remain at home, the DCP&P provides safety through foster homes.
When Parents and Other Parties Should Contact the NJ Department of Child Protection and Permanency
If you are concerned that a child is suffering abuse or neglect, there is no reason to delay contacting the DCP&P. It is important to understand that even if you are incorrect and a child is being well cared for, there is no real harm in making the call. On the other side of the coin, waiting to make the call will only delay the help a child might need.
In the situation where a child might be in serious and immediate danger, please call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Issues concerning the long-term wellbeing of the child can always be addressed at a later date but ensuring the safety of the child should always be priority number one.
To contact the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency, navigate here or simply call 1-877-652-2873.
DCP&P Lawyers Discuss the Investigation Process
For parents and caregivers on both sides of the equation, it can be scary when the DCP&P launches an investigation. At a very high level, here is what to expect when a report of child abuse or neglect results in a formal investigation:
- A report is filed at centralized screening
- A representative from a local DCP&P office is assigned to the investigation
- The representative may come visit a child at their home or school without forewarning or a warrant
- DCP&P employees do not have right to arrest parents or caregivers nor do they have authorities which are restricted to law enforcement officers
- Investigators do have the legal right to speak to you child alone, with or without your permission
- At the end of the investigation, the representative from the DCP&P will determine that either the current situation is safe and secure or that action must be taken
If it is deemed necessary to take further actions for the wellbeing and safety of a child, there are two common outcomes: either the caregivers can correct the unsafe situation within a 72 hour period, or the child will be placed in another home. There are a litany of complicating factors and a handful of other potential outcomes, and only a qualified Denville DCP&P lawyer would be able to advise on your specific case.
Contact our Child Safety and Wellbeing Attorneys Today
The child safety and wellbeing attorneys of Jacobs Berger have extensive experience assisting clients from Morris County towns including Randolph, Madison, Morristown, Florham Park, Denville, East Hanover, and across Northern New Jersey to take necessary legal action to protect their children. We believe in working with clients to reach an amicable and stress-free resolution to their legal disputes. However, we understand that matters involving the safety of a child sometimes require aggressive and strong legal action when necessary.
If you have any questions and concerns relating to child abuse, child neglect, or any other DCP&P issues, please contact us online or through our Morristown offices by calling (973) 710-4366 today for a confidential and comprehensive Strategic Planning Session.