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Four-Year-Old Dies After Drowning in Lake

Cape May County NJ DYFS Lawyers

DCP&P Investigations in NJ

DCP&P Investigations in NJ

A four-year-old girl recently passed away despite resuscitation efforts after being rescued from a lake in Cape May County. Emergency personnel responded to the Lake & Shore RV Resort on Corsons Tavern Road in Ocean View after the girl was swimming in the lake with her friends at the park’s campground. According to reports, the lake is primarily used for fishing and boating and is not watched by life guards and the available information did not indicate whether or not adults were present at the time or who was watching the children. After the paramedics arrived on scene and pulled the girl from the water, they attempted CPR and transported the girl to the Cape Regional Medical Center and were able to regain the child’s pulse. But after being transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the child passed away.

Because this case involves a child death, the matter will likely be referred to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”) to determine whether or not any parent, guardian, or caretaker was responsible for watching the girl when she drowned and whether or not whoever was responsible for the child perpetrated child abuse or neglect. Additionally, the matter will eventually be reviewed by the New Jersey Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board (“CFNFRB”). The child fatality review board operates in the Department of Children and Families and was established by the New Jersey Comprehensive Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (“CCAPTA”). The fatality review board’s purpose is to review child fatalities and near fatalities of children in New Jersey in order to identify causation, relationship to governmental support systems, and methods of prevention. In other words, the child fatality review board does not conduct a child abuse investigation but, rather, assesses systemic protocols and procedures to identify potential improvements to prevent future child deaths. But the Board’s review will take place after DCP&P completes an investigation and after medical experts complete an autopsy.

In the course of any DCP&P investigation, the objective is to determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether or not child abuse or neglect occurred. There are four potential outcomes or “investigative findings” of a DYFS investigation: substantiated, established, not established, and unfounded. Each of these four findings results in different consequences that have a different impact on the person being investigated and how the Division maintains a record of the investigation. The bottom line is that a substantiated finding will be maintained by the Division’s Central Registry and will be disclosed to certain third parties upon a Child Abuse Registry Check. Thus, it is extremely important to consult with an experienced DCP&P defense attorney if you are being investigated by DYFS because the investigative finding can have an impact for the rest of your life. If you or a loved one is being investigated by the Division, the New Jersey DCP&P defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm are always available to discuss your matter and help with this stressful time. Contact us now for a free consultation at (908)-356-6900.

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