Division of Child Protection and Permanency
The New Jersey Department of Youth and Family’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect. DCPP is formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). Ensuring the welfare and protection of children is one of the primary services of the DCPP. The DCPP, which operates a 24-hour tip line, is also responsible for arranging certain services for the family if necessary.
Even though many of these situations are real, sometimes they are found to be inaccurate and false. Unfortunately, by that time, a family could be tangled in a long, arduous process in the court system.
If There Is An Investigation, Know Your Rights
In a DCPP investigation, it is important to know your rights. The DCPP Parents Handbook says DCPP is “required to meet with parents and all children in the household. If a family refuses to allow a home visit or otherwise prevents the worker from seeing a child, CP&P may seek help from the police or the courts.”
But this does not mean you have to immediately agree to their protection plans. These plans can be very intrusive and disruptive. Before signing off a protection plan, it is important to have an attorney on your side who can advocate for and protect your rights.
There is a lot at stake. DCPP can try to take custody of your children and terminate your parental rights. With so much on the line, you cannot afford to face the DCPP without experienced legal representation.
Types Of Child Neglect
Child neglect is the most common type of child abuse. The other types of child abuse are physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse.
Child neglect falls into four broad categories:
- Physical neglect
- Psychological neglect
- Medical neglect
- Educational neglect
The State of New Jersey says: “Neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision for a child or adequate food, clothing, shelter, education or medical care although financially able or assisted to do so.”
What Child Neglect Looks Like
New Jersey gives specific examples of what child neglect can look like.
Indicators of physical neglect can include hunger, fatigue, abandonment and lack of supervision. Behaviors that indicate physical neglect can include begging for food, stealing, alcohol and drug use and the inability to stay awake in class.
Indicators of psychological neglect can include habits (biting and rocking, for example), antisocial or destructive behavior, sleep disorders and speech disorders.
Mandatory Reporting In New Jersey
In some states, mandatory reporting is limited to specific jobs or professions. New Jersey, however, has broad mandatory reporting requirements: “Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or acts of abuse should immediately report this information to the State Central Registry.”
Reporters can remain anonymous, and they do not need to provide proof of abuse or neglect. If reporters act in good faith, they are immune from criminal or civil legal consequences.
What If I Am Being Accused?
If a parent or caregiver is being accused of child abuse or neglect, they must know their rights. If this happens to you, contact our office at 856-795-9400.