Hackensack Department of Child Protection and Permanency Lawyer

“In the best interest of the child.” That’s the gold standard that the Family Practice Division of the New Jersey Courts uses to guide their decisions and rulings. And perhaps there’s no single issue taken more seriously than the physical safety of a child— or, conversely, the physical abuse of a minor.

What happens, however, if you’ve been wrongfully accused? The New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) (https://www.nj.gov/dcf/about/divisions/dcpp/) exists to safeguard the physical safety of children— and that’s a good thing. We all want to make sure that not only are our children safe and protected but that everyone’s children are safe and protected, too.

However, sometimes, the DCPP acts in overly aggressive ways. What if a slap wasn’t a slap, but an accident? What if your ex-spouse accuses you of a heinous act towards your child? What if a teacher or a neighbor misunderstands and calls the 24/7 DCPP hotline? Sometimes, the DCPP is just plain wrong— and interferes in a situation it has no business being involved in. Sometimes, the DCPP will escalate the situation, turning a misunderstanding into a problem. And sometimes, the agency acts impulsively— acting without knowing the full facts.

At times like this, you may need to defend yourself against the NJ DCPP. And given the stakes, it’s crucial you hire the right Hackensack Department of Child Protection and Permanency lawyer to do so. Reach out to an experienced family law attorney at our firm today.

What the DCPP Can Do

Formerly called the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) is empowered, under law, to take certain steps:

  • The DCPP does have a legal right to seize your children, take state custody of them, and petition the Court to terminate your parental rights. While this may sound egregious (a government agency taking your children), it’s permitted under the law. In their haste to protect minors, sometimes the DCPP acts quickly, effectuating the removal of children before the accused parent has even had the opportunity for their side to be considered. We’re not trying to be alarmists here, but if this happens, you need a Hackensack Department of Child Protection and Permanency attorney.
  • The DCPP can push for prosecution of you if they believe you have committed child endangerment, child abandonment, child abuse, child recklessness, etc.
  • The DCPP is known for acting speedily, with a timeframe that often stuns participants. (Therefore, if you are under investigation or have been accused of anything, it’s best to act immediately.)

Why You Need a Department of Child Protection and Permanency Lawyer

  • When a parent, guardian or such finds themselves under investigation by the DCPP it’s almost always incredibly emotionally overwhelming. Faced with even the most remote prospect of losing custody of their children to the state can strike fear or paralyze any parent. You need an empathetic, calm, and educated professional to guide you through this process.
  • For instance, a lawyer knows that unless (or until) the DCPP has successfully petitioned the Court, you have no legal obligation to allow them into your home to begin their investigation.
  • A DCPP lawyer in Hackensack knows that you have rights and even recourse. It’s important that you don’t allow the DCPP to bulldoze their way through the investigation to their pre-determined outcome.

Fighting Against the DCPP

You’ll work with your family law lawyer to fight against the DCPP’s claims. Some of the tactics and questions you may use are:

  • Has the DCPP considered the harm— the downside— of removing kids from their parents? Has the agency considered the alternative for the kids?
  • Has the DCPP attempted to help you fix what they view as the problem? Sometimes, the DCPP presents its issues with no attempt at a meaningful and acceptable solution.
  • Has the DCPP recognized the efforts you’ve made to resolve the situation or remove your child(ren) from harm?

All manner of documentation may go into mounting your defense against the outrageous accusations by the DCPP, including but not limited to school records, medical records, police records, and expert reports. We have the experience and wherewithal to depose the DCPP agents, as well as cross-examine them on the witness stand. Oftentimes, a DCPP agent will be someone younger, someone just starting out in their career and trying to make a name for themselves— and a skilled Department of Child Protection and Permanency lawyer in Hackensack can expose when they abuse their own power and go too far.

In the best interest of the child is what almost all of us in the system— the parents, the lawyers, the Court, even the DCPP— use as a north star. Anyone who is a parent knows there’s a big difference between getting frustrated and losing your temper, and physically abusing a child. However well-intentioned the DCPP may be when it comes to the custody of your children versus the state, you can’t risk it. You need a well-practiced attorney on your side.

Get in Touch With a Hackensack Department of Child Protection and Permanency Attorney

O’Cathain Law Group Family Law Department employs a team approach, and you’ll be assigned a dedicated family law lead attorney, as well as a dedicated family law paralegal to work with you and keep you informed of your case. Plus, we have 24/7 call service, so if you leave word, your attorney will receive an email to get back to you. We know that when it comes to a serious subject like this, you want to be part of the case.

O’Cathain Law Group’s motto is Move Forward. There can come a time when this alleged abuse, this baseless investigation is beyond you, and your children can go back to being a family together, a family that worries about daily trivialities and not losing parental rights. You can defend yourself against the DCPP and Move Forward. We’ve been doing this a long time, so let us fight for you and your children.

Find yourself in a scary and serious DCPP investigation or case? Call, fill out the intake form, or email a dedicated Family Law paralegal to speak with a Hackensack Department of Child Protection and Permanency lawyer at O’Cathain Law Group.