Jersey City DCP&P (DYFS) Attorneys Near Me
Handling Child Protective Services matters in Hudson County, New Jersey
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”) has three local offices in Hudson County: the Hudson Central Local Office in Jersey City, the Hudson North Local Office in Secaucus, and the Hudson South Local Office in Bayonne. Regardless of which DYFS local office you are dealing with in Hudson County, the knowledgeable DCP&P defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm are ready to help you manage the stressful situation. Any level of DCP&P involvement with your family is hard to handle on your own and it is important to have an experienced DYFS lawyer help you to ensure that your rights are being protected and that Division is not overstepping any boundaries. The Hudson County DCP&P defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm are ready to help you get DCP&P out of your family’s life as quickly as possible whether you are being investigated by the Division, if DCP&P took custody of your children and filed a complaint against you in Hudson County Family Court, or if you have already been substantiated for abuse or neglect and you want to appeal the finding.
If you or a loved one needs assistance with a DCP&P case in Hudson County NJ, contact the Tormey Law Firm now for a free initial consultation at (908)-356-6900.
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HUDSON COUNTY COURT
DCP&P cases in Hudson County will be heard at the Hudson County Superior Court, located at, 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306, which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be contacted at 201-795-6600. Click here for more information regarding the Hudson County Superior Court. For directions to the Hudson County Superior Court, click here.
HUDSON COUNTY FAMILY DIVISION AND CHILDREN IN COURT UNIT
Children in court cases, or DCP&P cases, in Hudson County Superior Court are handled by a Judge who sits in the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Hudson County Superior Court. The Presiding Judge of the Hudson County Family Part is the Honorable Maureen Mantineo, P.J.F.P. whose chambers can be contacted at 201-795-6775. The Hudson County Family Part also has a Children in Court Unit with court staff dedicated to managing DCP&P cases. The Children in Courts Unit is located in the Hudson County Administration Building, 595 Newark Avenue, Room 201F, Jersey City, New Jersey 07306, and can be contacted at 201-795-6786. For more information on the Hudson County Children in Court unit, click here.
DCP&P LOCAL OFFICES IN HUDSON COUNTY
There are three DCP&P local offices in Hudson County: the Hudson Central Local Office, 438 Summit Avenue, 4th Floor, Jersey City, NJ 07306, phone: 201-795-0423; the Hudson North Local Office, Gateway Plaza 4th Floor, 1 Harmon Meadow Blvd., Secaucus, NJ 07094, phone: 201-590-6700; the Hudson South Local Office 690 Broadway, 4th Floor, Bayonne, NJ 07002, phone: 201-823-5500; and the Hudson West Local Office, which is also located inside the Gateway Plaza in Secaucus on the 5th Floor, phone: 201-590-6400. Click on the following link for more information regarding the DCP&P local offices in Hudson County.
FAMILY RESOURCES IN HUDSON COUNTY
Whether the Division is involved with your family because of allegations of substance abuse or any other parenting issues, there are many resources and family support services including counseling, therapy, and parenting education available to parents in Hudson County. In fact, getting help now may be the key to getting DYFS out of your family’s life sooner rather than later. There are three Family Success Centers in Hudson County: the Liberty Family Success Center, 341 Kearny Avenue Kearny, NJ 07032, phone: 201-622-2210; the Horizon Health Center Family Success Center, 115 Christopher Columbus Drive Jersey City, NJ 07302, phone: (201) 451-4767, and the Palisades Family Success Center, 1408 New York Avenue Union City, NJ 07087, phone: (201) 758-8792. In addition to the family success centers in Hudson County, the New Jersey Parent Link has valuable information for parents regarding health and wellness, developmental and behavioral health, parenting education and family support services.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT IN HUDSON COUNTY
For parents in Hudson County who need addiction services, treatment is available through Partners in Prevention, 37 Harmon Cove Towers, Suite 37, Secaucus, NJ 07094, Phone: (201) 552-2268. For a list of the licensed substance abuse treatment centers in Hudson County, click here. In addition to the substance abuse services in Hudson County, the New Jersey Prevention Network focuses on providing substance abuse and addiction services throughout the State of New Jersey.
Being Investigated by DCP&P in Hudson County
When the Division of Child Protection and Permanency receives a claim concerning alleged child abuse or neglect in Hudson County NJ, the agency is legally obligated to investigate the claim. To that end, the investigator is required to follow the New Jersey’s Administrative Code, which outlines the requirements that the investigator must satisfy. The code states under Title 3A that the Division must: (1) interview every adult in the home, (2) question the child or children who are the subject of the investigation, (3) speak to any other children residing in the home, (4) review any prior cases the family had with the Division, (5) interview the person who made the claim, (6) question any other person who may have knowledge about the case, (7) conduct a background check to uncover if the accused has a criminal record or any restraining orders, and (8) inspect the child’s home.
DYFS Home Visits in Hudson County
Upon receiving a report that may be child abuse or neglect, an investigator will visit the family’s home. While there, the investigator will request to inspect the home to determine if there is sufficient food, running water, and functioning electricity. Additionally, he or she will also want to confirm that the child or children have a room equipped with a safe and proper place to sleep. Furthermore, the investigator will also be searching for drugs, alcohol, and other forms of contraband that may be harmful to a child. Please note, alcohol is legal, and many families keep wine, beer, and spirits in their home. However, the Division tends to disfavor the sight of it and depending on the nature of the claim, may use it against the parents.
Also, while at the home, the Division will want to speak with the parents and the child. This is a very important decision for families to make. Most parents openly answer any questions posed by the Division under the belief that they are good-moral people and the investigator will clearly see that and immediately close the case. Unfortunately, that rarely happens and worse of all, the parents commonly offer inculpatory statements. As a result, the parents place themselves in a deep hole that may take months to dig out of. On top of that, the statements open the door for the Division to demand services such as drug testing, evaluations, or counseling. It’s important to understand, if the Division visits your home, you are under no legal obligation to speak to them or allow them into your home. The best course of action is to obtain the investigator’s business card and politely decline to cooperate. Then, contact an attorney.
In addition to inspecting the home and possibly speaking to the family, the investigator will very likely demand that the parents execute releases. The releases allow the Division to speak to and obtain private medal records from the family’s physicians. Again, you are under no legal obligation to execute the releases. Do not feel compelled to cooperate because the investigator threatens to take action. As stressed above, the best response is to politely decline to sign the release and contact an attorney.
Should I Cooperate with a Child Abuse or Neglect Investigation in Hudson County?
Every investigation is different and therefore, there is no exact answer that can be given to close a case. For some families, it is best to cooperate. For others, they should decline all services and refuse to speak to the Division. And some parents should accept some services while declining others.
If the decision is made to cooperate, the first step the family needs to take is to learn what the nature of the complaint is. The Division is prohibited from sharing the identity of the reporter, as well as the details of their investigation. However, they can briefly tell you about the nature of the claim. This is very important information to have before you begin speaking to the Division. Without it, you may inadvertently begin discussing other events which may lead to a subsequent investigation.
Second, if you obtain counsel, provide your attorney with your criminal history, domestic violence history, and DCP&P history. It’s vital that you are candid with your attorney. The Division will conduct a thorough background check and will ask you about it. They know the answer already but want to see if you are going to lie. To that end, if you are caught lying about your history, the Division will assume you are lying about the underlying claim.
Third, similar to a person’s background, it is also necessary to be honest with your attorney about your medical history. The Division will very likely ask the parents to execute a release, which will allow them to speak to your physician and obtain medical records. Most families execute the release not fully understanding the consequences. On top of that, during the interview, they are posed questions about their past and misrepresent the truth. Nevertheless, place be mindful, unlike a person’s criminal history, medical records are not open to the public. Therefore, absent the signed release, the Division cannot review an individual’s confidential medical records. Hence, it’s important to speak to an attorney about whether it is wise to execute a release. Moreover, if you already signed the release and the Division obtained your records, you need to tell your attorney. And again, it important to be forthcoming with your attorney about your past.
Lastly, notify the investigator about witnesses who can provide favorable information about the facts of your case. Under the Administrative Code, the Division has a duty to interview any person who may have personal knowledge about the case. Thus, it serves your interest to provide contact information about any person who may be able to assist you. They may be able to supply additional facts or corroborate your story, which in turn, may sway the investigator to close the case or make a favorable finding.
Ultimately, the decision to cooperate with DCP&P is complicated and must be made on a case by case basis. Therefore, if you or someone you love is contacted by the Division, it is best to contact an experienced Hudson County child abuse defense attorney as soon as possible.
Hudson County DCP&P Findings
At the conclusion of the investigation, DCP&P will mail a letter to the family stating their findings. The findings will be either: substantiated, established, not established, or unfounded. If the findings are substantiated or established, the parents can file an appeal. The family must submit the appeal within 20-days. Thereafter, a hearing will be conducted at the Office of Administrative Law.
Contact a Hudson County Child Abuse Attorney to Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one needs assistance with a DCP&P case in Hudson County NJ, contact the Tormey Law Firm now for a free initial consultation at (908)-356-6900. Our skilled attorneys diligently defend clients facing child abuse and neglect accusations in Jersey City, Secaucus, Weehawken, Kearny, Union City, Bayonne, and throughout Hudson County. Contact us today to speak with a lawyer about your case, your rights, and your options. Consultations are available around the clock and always provided free of charge.