Bergen County Child Abuse Defense Attorneys
DCP&P Defense Lawyer with offices in Hackensack, New Jersey
An allegation of child abuse or neglect can be devastating to a family, a reputation, and a career. Our Bergen County NJ DCP&P defense lawyers know how important children and family are to you and we will fight to the end to protect your parental rights and your reputation. In fact, one of our attorneys, Brent DiMarco, worked for two of the largest DYFS defense firms in the state of NJ before joining the Tormey Law Firm in 2018. Now, let him put his experience and expertise to work for you in fighting against a DCP&P investigation. Contact our Hackensack offices anytime for immediate assistance at (201)-330-4979. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge and we represent DCP&P clients throughout Bergen County including in Teaneck, Garfield, Fort Lee, Leonia, and Mahwah.
NOTE: Our firm can assist you with both a criminal investigation or charges as well as a DCP&P investigation and possible removal proceedings. One attorney will handle the criminal aspects of your case and another former DCP&P prosecutor will handle the defense aspects of your DCP&P case. It is important to understand if you have criminal charges, just a DCP&P investigation, or both and our lawyers will explain the entire process to you on each.
Who is the Division of Child Protection and Permanency and What are my Rights?
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency is the new name for DYFS (the Division of Youth and Family Services). The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”), is part of the State Department of Children and Families. DCP&P’s role is to investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect and child welfare concerns, provide families with services, and to ensure that children are living in safe, stable, and permanent homes – but not necessarily with a biological parent.
Bringing Me to Court and Determining if Services are Needed
If the Division determines that a family needs services, for example substance abuse treatment or family therapy, the Division will offer these services and the family can decide whether or not to attend the services. However, DCP&P may also ask parents or children to undergo psychological or psychiatric evaluations. In certain circumstances a parent may not voluntarily attend services and then the Division will attempt to force the family to comply by taking the family to court.
Potential Removal of the Child from Parent’s Custody
In other cases where it would be contrary to the welfare of the child to stay with a parent, DCP&P will execute an emergent removal of the child from the parent’s custody. After the Division takes a child from a parent, the Division must go to New Jersey Superior Court, Family Part in two days for the Court to determine whether or not the Division’s removal was legal. The Court will need to find that the child was in an immediate risk and that remaining with the parent would be contrary to the welfare of the child. If so, then the parent will have twelve months to remedy the situation by addressing the issues that led to the removal of the child.
Is the Complaint of Abuse or Neglect Substantiated by the Court?
The Division will also determine if a child has been abused or neglected and keep a permanent record regarding the parents who perpetrated child abuse or neglect. If the Division substantiates child abuse or neglect, the perpetrator has a right for that decision to reviewed. The Court will conduct a trial, or a Fact-Finding hearing, where the Division must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the parent abused or neglected the child, as defined by New Jersey’s child abuse and neglect laws.
Termination of Parental Rights
After twelve months, if the child cannot return to the parent, the Court may approve to terminate parental rights, freeing the child for adoption. Then DCP&P will file a Complaint for Guardianship to terminate parental rights and unless the case is resolved, the Court will have a trial to determine whether or not the Division proved clearly and convincingly that parental rights should be terminated. No matter the Division’s level of involvement in your family, you should consider consulting with an attorney to discuss your representation. During an investigation or case that’s already in court, an attorney can protect your rights and defend you.
Contact Local Bergen County DYFS Defense Lawyers Near Me at the Tormey Law Firm Now
In fact, if a case is in court, you have the right to an attorney and you should contact our Hackensack NJ DCP&P Defense lawyers now for a free initial consultation at (201)-330-4979.