Child Welfare: The New Jersey Division Of Child Protection And Permanency

The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) is the child welfare agency tasked with investigating reports of child abuse and child neglect. If your family has been contacted by or found itself in the middle of an investigation with the DCPP, I can help. I founded The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen with a mission to protect my clients’ constitutional rights and defend them against unwarranted accusations. With over 30 years of experience in the criminal justice system, I serve clients throughout Camden County and if you are navigating a DCPP inquiry, I can defend your rights.

Child Protection: The Function And Purpose Of The DCPP

The DCPP, formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services, is a New Jersey state agency that investigates all allegations and reports of child neglect and abuse. The DCPP is also responsible for placing children in protective services and facilitating treatment and counseling for families. They assist with family services that include:

  • Counseling
  • Classes that include parenting classes
  • Treatment programs for substance abuse
  • In-home services
  • Foster care and placement in residential homes

The DCPP is a division of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. While an investigation by the DCPP is not a criminal investigation, its findings can lead to a criminal investigation and criminal charges, including child abuse or criminal child endangerment.

DCPP Investigations Of Child Abuse Or Neglect

The state of New Jersey defines child abuse as “physical, sexual or emotional harm or risk of harm to a child under the age of 18 caused by a parent or other person who acts as a caregiver to the child.” According to the state of New Jersey, neglect occurs “when a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision for a child or adequate food, clothing, shelter, education or medical care” despite the financial ability or assistance to provide such care. An investigation by the DCPP can result in the following findings:

  • Substantiated: there are aggravating factors and evidence of abuse or neglect
  • Established: there is evidence of abuse or neglect, but there are mitigating factors that outweigh the aggravating factors
  • Not established: abuse or neglect has not been proven, but the evidence gathered indicated the child was exposed to risk or harm
  • Unfounded: the child was not harmed or at risk of harm

In the event of a finding of “substantiated” the parent or caregiver’s information will be recorded permanently in the Child Abuse Registry and will show up in any Child Abuse Registry Information (CARI) check. In the event of a finding of “established” the DCPP will keep the case in its files and there will not be an ability to expunge the record.

Providing Compassionate Legal Representation For Child Protection Cases

While an investigation by the DCPP is not criminal in nature, its findings and results can have a lasting impact. In addition, the information gathered in an investigation may be turned over to the police department and ultimately lead to criminal charges. If you are the subject of a DCPP investigation, or need to appeal a DCPP investigation, or are concerned that you are being investigated by law enforcement, an experienced criminal defense attorney is a critical next step to protect yourself, your freedom and your rights.

Don’t Wait. Call Today To Retain A DCPP Defense Attorney

A criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights. If a finding has already been issued, there is an extremely limited amount of time to appeal a DCPP finding and prevent permanent damage to your record. I offer free, initial consultations and case evaluations. Call The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen or send an email through the online form to schedule yours today.