If the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) (formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS)) has come to your home and taken your child, you understandably want to do everything you can to bring your child home as quickly as possible. However, at this point, you need to be extremely careful, and you must go through the formal legal process for restoring your family. This can be very challenging; and, to make sure you avoid mistakes, it is strongly recommended that you hire an experienced New Jersey DYFS lawyer to help.
6 Key Facts for Parents Who are Dealing with the New Jersey DCPP
Here are some key facts you need to know if the New Jersey DCPP has taken your child:
1. The New Jersey DCPP Will Only Take Your Child After Conducting an Investigation
Prior to removing a child from his or her home, the New Jersey DCPP will conduct a thorough investigation. This means that if the DCPP has taken your child, the Division already has evidence suggesting that it is unsafe for your child to live with you. As a result, at this point, you are facing an uphill battle. In order to bring your child home, you will need to convince a judge that either: (i) the DCPP’s findings are inaccurate; or (ii) the circumstances in your home have changed significantly.
2. You Will Need to Go to Court to Bring Your Child Back Home
After the DCPP takes your child, you are entitled to a fact-finding hearing in court. This is your chance to tell your side of the story, question any witnesses against you and dispute the DCPP’s findings. Hiring an experienced New Jersey DYFS lawyer will give you the best chance of success, and you will want to begin building your case with your lawyer as soon as possible.
3. You May Be Able to Have Your Child Placed with a Relative
If you are unable to bring your child home immediately, you may be able to have him or her placed with a relative instead of going into foster care. This can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, and it is an option you will want to discuss with your New Jersey DYFS lawyer.
4. Allegations of Child Abuse or Neglect Can Also Lead to Criminal Charges
If you are being accused of child abuse or neglect, your New Jersey DCPP case could also potentially lead to criminal charges. Again, you need to be extremely careful, and you should speak with a lawyer right away.
5. You Still Have Options if You Lose Your Case Against the New Jersey DCPP
Winning your case against the New Jersey DCPP can be challenging. If you lose your case, you need to understand that you still have options available for reuniting with your child. For example, you can file an appeal within 45 days; and, depending on the circumstances involved, your lawyer may be able to help you pursue other options as well.
6. Always Challenge a Finding of Child Abuse
Even if DCPP (formerly called DYFS) merely finds that child abuse has been established, that finding can and should be challenged. If not appealed, it will be a permanent part of your record and may prevent you from obtaining or keeping certain employment; coaching or supervising children in the future, or obtaining some types of volunteer work
Talk to a New Jersey DYFS Lawyer Today
If the New Jersey DCPP has taken your child, we strongly encourage you to contact us right away. To speak with one of our experienced New Jersey DYFS lawyers in confidence, call 877-435-6371 or send us a message online now.