The role of Child Protection & Permanency in New Jersey
One of the scariest things that can happen is the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) arriving at your door to investigate an allegation of abuse or neglect related to your children. The role of DCPP is very specific. Their job is to investigate all reported allegations of abuse and/or neglect and take action necessary to protect the health and safety of the children. Sometimes this just means an investigation and sometimes it means an immediate removal of the children from the dangerous situation and then Court intervention under what is called the FN docket, sometimes is it somewhere in between the two.
Not all allegations reported to DCPP will result in removal or litigation. In fact, sometimes allegations do not go past the investigation stage. However, there are times when emergency removal is necessary and DCPP is authorized to take immediate action to protect the children. Under what is called a Title 9 case, abuse and neglect, DCPP is authorized to make an emergency removal when there is “imminent danger to the child’s life, safety or health.” In these situations, where DCPP has determined there is sufficient risk of imminent danger, they will perform the emergency removal then proceed to Court for what is called a Dodd hearing. In other instances, DCPP may not perform an emergency removal, but can open what is called a Care and Supervision case under Title 30 where there is evidence of child endangerment and impose services necessary to make the child “safe.”
Don’t Ignore DCPP
Seeing DCPP on your doorstep can be terrifying. The best thing you can do is open the door. Avoiding DCPP will not make the issues go away and can make it much worse than it needs to be. If you have concerns about cooperating with DCPP, that’s fine, attorneys experienced in this area of law can help you. But when DCPP comes knocking, do not ignore them. Open the door, cooperate to the extent you are comfortable and contact counsel to guide you through the process.
Julie Burick, Esq. is a shareholder and partner with AMBF. She focuses her practices on all areas of family law and has significant experience with DCPP matters. To schedule a confidential consult, call our Haddonfield, NJ office today at 856-428-8334.