Passaic County NJ DCP&P Defense Lawyers
Fighting child abuse and neglect allegations in Paterson, New Jersey
An allegation of child abuse or neglect can have devastating implications for an individual, a family, a career, and a community. Let the experienced New Jersey DCP&P Defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm LLC protect your rights, your reputation, and combat these false allegations in court. Our lawyers are former DYFS prosecutors who know defend our clients facing similar allegations. In fact, one of our attorneys, Tom Ercolano, was a DCP&P prosecutor in Essex County for four (4) years before joining the firm. Now, let him use that experience and expertise to protect your parental rights in court.
For immediate assistance, contact the New Jersey DCP&P defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm LLC now. Our initial consultation is always provided free of charge at 201-556-1570.
What are the possible outcomes of a DCP&P (formerly known as “DYFS”) investigation in NJ?
Can the Division take your child away from you? Yes. If DCP&P takes custody of your child there must be a Court hearing within two days so a Family Court judge can decide if the removal was appropriate.
If the Division decides that a child is in imminent risk of harm during an investigation, DCP&P can take temporary custody of the child by executing an emergent removal also known as a “Dodd” removal. In other words, if DCP&P determined that your child has been abused or severely neglected to the point where remaining with you would be contrary to the welfare of your child, the Division will take your child away from you. The Division does not need to go to court first. But, there must be a court hearing within two business days where the Division will present its case to a judge who must determine whether or not it is contrary to your child’s welfare to remain in your custody. Because your custodial rights are at stake during the Court proceeding, you are entitled to an attorney and should consider having an experienced DCP&P defense attorney with you to protect your rights. In addition, the Division is required to notify the county prosecutor’s office of severe cases of abuse and neglect (for potential criminal charges).
In addition to deciding that it would be contrary to the welfare of your child to remain in your custody, the Court must also determine whether or not the Division exercised reasonable efforts to avoid taking custody or, in the alternative, whether there was an emergency that excused the Division from exercising reasonable efforts to prevent taking custody. Furthermore, if the Division does take custody of your child, the Division must assess available relatives for placement and provide the parents with visitation unless visitation poses a risk to the child’s health and safety.
An alternative to DCP&P taking custody of your child is a Safety Protection Plan in which you agree with the Division to implement actions to protect your child. In some circumstances the Division may ask you to agree to have no contact with your child for a short time while a dangerous situation stabilizes. However, if you agree to leave your child in the care of another individual as part of a Safety Protection Plan, the Division cannot restrict your access to your child for more than ten days without taking you to court.
Another possible outcome of a DCP&P investigation is that the Division might not take custody of your child but determine that you need to attend services, for example therapy or substance abuse treatment, to assist your family with achieving safety and stability. In other words, the Division may determine that your child or family could benefit from services but that court intervention is not required to ensure the best interest of your child. On the other hand, the Division could determine that services will benefit your family but that the Courts should monitor your compliance with the services to ensure the best interest of your child. In other circumstances, the Division may determine that your child is well and that your family does not require any assistance from the Division to ensure the child’s health and safety.
Whether the Division has already taken you to court or is contemplating doing so, you should consult with an experienced DCP&P defense lawyer to discuss your rights and what the Division can and cannot do either in or out of court. Contact our experienced DYFS defense lawyers now for immediate assistance at 201-556-1570. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.