Being contacted by the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) can be a concerning and confusing experience regardless of the reason for the investigation. If you have found yourself in DCPP’s proverbial spotlight, it is important to remember that you have rights during whatever proceedings follow that neither DCPP nor any other entity within the state government can violate.

Reaching out to a Hackensack Department of Child Protection and Permanency lawyer should be a priority immediately after learning of any allegation or investigation against you. Retaining legal counsel under these circumstances is by no means an admission of culpability. Having a capable attorney by your side could be key to enforcing your rights and effectively pursuing a positive resolution.

What Authority Does DCPP Have?

Formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), the DCPP is the agency within the state government that is responsible for ensuring that children are not mistreated, neglected, or abused by their parents or legal guardians. Any time a mandatory reporter or anyone else reports a suspicion of child neglect or abuse, the DCPP is responsible for investigating that claim and determining whether action is necessary to protect the children in question from further harm.

If the DCPP believes a child is at serious risk of physical or emotional harm in their current residence, the agency has the authority to start a case against the child’s parents or guardians. While this is not a criminal case and an unfavorable result would not lead to jail or prison time, the DCPP may forward relevant evidence of potentially criminal behavior against children to law enforcement authorities.

Substantiated Findings by the DCPP

Furthermore, a formally “substantiated” finding of mistreatment by the DCPP could lead to significant consequences, including the loss of custody rights. No matter the accusation the DCPP is investigating, assistance from a dedicated attorney in Hackensack could be crucial to building a comprehensive legal defense that mitigates the risk of potential consequences.

Rights of Individuals Subject to DCPP Investigation

Even if the DCPP has already begun officially investigating someone, the subject of the investigation is not legally obligated to cooperate with the agency’s efforts. They are not required to allow DCPP officials to enter their home, nor will they be criminally penalized if they refuse a safety plan presented to them by the DCPP.

However, these cases often move incredibly fast, and an unfavorable outcome does give the DCPP legal authority to terminate parental rights and remove children from their parents’ or guardians’ custody. Because the risks of these investigations are high, seeking assistance from a Department of Child Protection and Permanency attorney in Hackensack might be the best and only way for an individual to effectively protect their own best interests.

Talk to a Hackensack Department of Child Protection and Permanency Attorney Today

The Department of Child Protection and Permanency has a lot of power in New Jersey when it comes to investigating and, if they deem it necessary, acting against the mistreatment of children. However, you also have rights as someone who is subject to DCPP investigation or action—and there is help available from diligent legal professionals if you want to enforce those rights.

A qualified Hackensack Department of Child Protection and Permanency lawyer could stand by your side through any and all proceedings that may impact your family. Call to get started with a private consultation today.