NJ Governor Chris Christie Applauds DCP&P
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently praised the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”), for its steady progress in efficiently and appropriately responding to allegations and reports of child abuse and neglect. Christie noted that headlines regarding DCP&P usually only surface when something goes wrong. Christie added, “We don’t have like every 60 days, a story on TV or in the newspapers that says, ‘Another 60 days of extraordinary work where children were protected and families were put back together. Let’s take a moment to highlight five or 10 of those success stories.’ No, no, no, no. The only time we ever read or hear about it is when something goes wrong.”
As part of the highlights mentioned in Governor Christie’s recent speech, he pointed to a major reduction in caseload for DCP&P case workers. For example, in 1999, many case workers carried caseloads of 75-85 cases. Since then, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to reduce the number of cases assigned to an individual DCP&P worker. Investigators are now only permitted to work with 12 families, with no more than eight new investigations per month. Thus, according to Allison Blake, the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Child and Families, investigators are able to dedicate themselves to conducting thorough investigations on the child abuse and child neglect cases that they handle.
DCP&P investigations in New Jersey take place when there is an allegation of child abuse or neglect or a child welfare concern. In fact, if the Division receives a referral, an investigation must take place even if an anonymous call is made. Even in the middle of the night, or during weekends or holidays, the Special Response Unit (“SPRU”) will start an investigation, with an investigator from the regular local office taking over the case the following day. The bottom line is that DYFS is obligated to initiate an investigation to determine if there are issues related to the care a child is receiving in the State of New Jersey any time a case is called in. Keep in mind, however, that parents can be represented by an attorney during the course of a Division investigation.
The New Jersey DCP&P defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm are available 24/7 to help parents who are being investigated by DCP&P. If you are being investigated, we are ready to explain what a DCP&P investigation will entail, how to manage the Division’s intrusion into your family, and what to do to get DCP&P out of your family’s life sooner rather than later.