Division of Youth & Family Services Investigations: In 2012, New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) was officially renamed the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) as way to more precisely define the agency’s core mission of providing safety, permanency, and well-being for New Jersey’s most vulnerable children and families.
Just like its predecessor, DCP&P is the state agency responsible for investigating reports of child abuse or neglect and managing cases in which evidence is found that substantiates abuse or neglect. Currently, DCP&P oversees 7,100 children in foster care and supervises case management of almost 25,000 families suspected or found to have mistreated their children, according to recent state data.
If Your Child is the Subject of a DCP&P Investigation
In the event you are contacted by a DCP&P case worker as the result of a report of child abuse or neglect, it is important to understand the investigative process, as well as your legal rights and responsibilities as a parent.
After an initial investigation by a case worker, a report of child abuse or neglect is determined to be either “unfounded” or “substantiated.” No further action is required on unfounded reports, but in the case of a substantiated report, understanding the next steps involved, including the possibility of formal court proceedings, is critical. Wherever you are in this process, we encourage you to learn as much as you can about the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P).
Superior Court and the Division of Child Protection and Permanency
If DCP&P (formerly DYFS) has initiated an action in Superior Court against you based on a claim that you abused or neglected a child, attorney representation is paramount. For an overview of the steps involved in a court case initiated by DCP&P, see How the Superior Court Process Works in a Division of Child Protection and Permanency Case in New Jersey.
Other Division of Child Protection and Permanency Services
DCP&P also provides access to a variety of services for families undergoing case management. Services may be provided by other state agencies or through community partners. These services may include:
– Parenting classes, family counseling, child care and other therapeutic services
- Child behavioral and mental health services
- Domestic violence intervention services
- Substance abuse treatment
- Foster and residential care
- Adoption and kinship legal guardianship
DCP&P also manages New Jersey’s Child Abuse Hotline:1-877 NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873). The Hotline is available to receive reports of child abuse and neglect 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Reports requiring a field response are forwarded to the DCP&P Local Office who then send out a case worker to investigate.
Help At Any Stage of the DCP&P Process
We understand how the New Jersey courts work in DCP&P cases. We also understand how emotionally difficult this kind of situation can be. Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group’s knowledgeable and compassionate family law attorneys will take the time to help answer any questions you have regarding child and parenting issues specifically related to the DCP&P (formerly DYFS) process. If you are facing a DCP&P investigation, please call us for an inital consultation: (888) 888-0919.