Out of State Referrals to the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF)
DCF Attorneys Assisting Clients in Middlesex County and throughout New Jersey
Out of state referrals to and from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) are serious matters, with the potential to spell significant implications for you and your family. New Jersey residents who move or travel out-of-state and who are suspected of domestic violence involving children may nevertheless be reported back to New Jersey for further action. Likewise, families who move to New Jersey and who are reported for domestic violence in their prior state of residence may also be referred to New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families and Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) for further action. It is important to know how out-of-state abuse referrals can affect you in New Jersey and what to expect if you are involved in a DCPP case.
Our firm serves as an authoritative group of professionals who can advise you of your rights when it comes to child abuse and neglect cases in New Jersey and how a case in New Jersey can affect you in other states. Our distinguished New Jersey child abuse and neglect lawyers have extensive experience handling domestic violence and child abuse claims against New Jersey residents and those who have just reached the state from elsewhere. With a strong background in DCPP defense, family law, and criminal defense, we combine years of experience in the courts of New Jersey with thorough knowledge of New Jersey laws to provide the best possible representation. To find out more about out of state referrals to DCF and DCPP referrals to other states outside of New Jersey, contact us today at (908)-356-6900 or reach out online to arrange a free consultation.
Can Child Abuse and Neglect Cases be Seen in Other States?
Child Protective Services agencies exist in every state and agencies share certain important information. New Jersey has a centralized DCPP Centralized Screening Operation and a State Central Registry that receives, catalogs, and generates referrals for reported child abuse or neglect incidents that occur either inside or outside the state. Other states have similar databases and reporting networks. This means that if you were reported for child abuse in say Pennsylvania, a month or two before you move to New Jersey, Pennsylvania’s child protective services division can still report you to New Jersey’s State Central Registry, which can refer the case out to a DCPP investigator for a home visit and Family Risk Assessment. Your child abuse or neglect reports thus do not disappear simply because you have moved across state lines.
What Happens if New Jersey Receives a Child Abuse Report from Another State?
If New Jersey’s State Central Registry receives a report of child abuse or neglect from another state’s agency, commonly referred to as the “sending state,” the registry will catalog that report and determine whether a New Jersey resident family is involved. If the family is in New Jersey, DCF will investigate the report. This will generally involve interviews of all family members, including the potentially abused child, and either the provision of resources to the family to fix the problem or, at worst, removal of the child and termination of parental rights.
If DCF receives a report that does not involve any New Jersey families or residents, they will contact the child protective services agency for the state where the family reported for child abuse resides. The registry will provide the details of the child abuse report to that other state’s agency, and an assigned New Jersey case worker will coordinate with that local agency to conduct the child abuse investigation.
Coordinated Child Protective Services Investigations in NJ and Other States
If some family members involved in the reported child abuse reside in New Jersey but some involved family members live out of state, DCF will conduct its investigation and interviews of in-state residents and coordinate with a local agency to receive interview reports on the out-of-state family members. New Jersey case workers typically do not cross state lines on these multi-state investigations, but rather rely on the partnered out-of-state agency for boots on the ground work. If a New Jersey family traveling out of state is reported for child abuse, DCF will check whether the state where the abuse allegedly occurred is taking lead on the investigation and coordinate with that state.
Finally, New Jersey state agencies take special protective action when reports indicate a family is fleeing from an outside state into New Jersey to evade a child protective services investigation. These actions can involve removing a child on an emergency basis if DCF suspects that the child is in imminent danger. New Jersey will also coordinate with out-of-state agencies to ensure continued supervision of families who move to New Jersey but who were under the supervision of child services in their original state.
Contact our Edison DCF Defense Lawyers for Immediate Assistance
For more information about out of state child abuse and neglect cases in New Jersey, contact our NJ DCF defense attorneys now at (908)-356-6900. Our firm assists clients accused of domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect in locations across New Jersey, including in Bergen, Morris, Essex, Passaic, Hudson, Union, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties. You can reach us anytime for a free consultation if you wish to speak with a DCF lawyer who can help you face any issues involving child protective services.
Out of State Referrals, New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual