Rules for Reporting Child Abuse in New Jersey
Do You Have to Report Child Abuse in NJ?
In New Jersey, any person who reasonably believes that a child is being abused or neglected should report their concerns as soon as possible. The best way to voice their concerns is by contacting 911 or the child abuse hotline at 1-877 NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873).
Not only should a person make a report, from a moral standpoint, if they are aware of child abuse or neglect, but they are obligated by law to do so. In the Garden State, any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse or neglect is required to report it immediately to the NJ Division of Child Protection and Permanency by telephone or otherwise.
What if I Report Someone to Child Protective Services in New Jersey?
If you do contact the Division to make a report, you will likely be asked the provide the following information. You will be asked about the name, age, and address of the child as well as his or her parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control of the child. You will also be questioned about the nature and extent of the abuse or neglect, any past abusive or neglectful conduct. You may also be asked if you any evidence to support your claim. It’s not necessary that you have all the requested information or proof. You will not be in violation of the law if you cannot answer every question posed by the Division. The questions are being asked so the Division can better conduct their investigation and if needed, remove the child in order to protect their well-being.
Further, any person who, in good faith, makes a report of child abuse or neglect or testifies in a child abuse hearing resulting from such a report is immune from any criminal or civil liability as a result of such action. Additionally, any reports and records concerning abuse or neglect together with any information gathered by the Division during their investigation shall be kept confidential and may not be disclosed. As such, the identity of the caller cannot be revealed. There are only a few limited circumstances where the Department’s records can be disclosed. Generally only the courts, law enforcement agencies, physicians, or other child welfare agencies can access the records.
If, for some reason, a person willfully permits or encourages the release of the contents of any record or report, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or to imprisonment for not more than 3 years, or both.
Someone Reported me to DCPP, What Should I do?
As a person who has been reported for alleged child abuse or neglect, you need to seek knowledgeable legal counsel as soon as possible. Being accused of any type of harmful conduct toward your children or those over whom you have guardianship means your legal status as a parent or caregiver is hanging in the balance. The experienced New Jersey child abuse defense attorneys at our firm will fight to protect your name and your life in this scary situation. Call (908)-356-6900 for more information and a free consultation.