A Department of Child Protection and Permanency investigation may occur at any time. The New Jersey Department of Children and Families handles all DCPP inquires and reports. If the DCF instigates an investigation against your family, you do need to comply with them, but you also have some rights that the DCF must observe.

An investigation may be due to another person reporting suspected abuse or other issues within your family. The DCF must collect information to either take further steps or to close the case. In many situations, an investigation will not result in any further actions, so it can be in your best interest to allow the DCF to proceed. However, you should be mindful of your rights.

Right to representation

Once DCF alerts you to an investigation against your family, you have the right to secure an attorney. Your attorney can advise you on what to do and how to interact with DCF while protecting your family and your rights. If the DCF should choose to pursue charges or to take other actions, your attorney can also assist with any court involvement.

Right to make decisions

If the DCF makes suggestions on what you should do, it is your right to accept those suggestions or reject them. The same is true with any services it may offer you. Unless there is a court order, you can do what you feel is best for your family.

Right to understand

You also have the right to know what the DCF expects of your family and why it is investigating you. The DCF does not have to give you the name of anyone who may have reported you or triggered the investigation.

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