Child abuse allegations made against you can be very scary, and often can spark panic. When allegations and an associated child welfare case are made against you, a lot is on the line. While these child abuse allegations are scary, they are not always valid, and not all parents deserve the repercussions of these allegations.
Child abuse allegations are very complex, and trying to disprove them alone is extremely difficult to do. It is important to have knowledge of the court, New Jersey’s child welfare agency, and the correct way to challenge evidence presented against you. Finding a DCPP attorney who has years of child welfare experience, like our NJ team, is a great first step toward fighting these false allegations.
False Claims in DCPP Case? We Have Your Back.
Children have often made up allegations, exaggerated certain problems, and even persisted of making up false claims once your wrongdoings have been cleared. Fighting these allegations alone are very difficult, which is why it is important to speak to an attorney who knows what to do in these tough times.
When faced with child abuse allegations, our DCPP attorneys will present you in positive ways, which are otherwise tough to do alone. With an effective testimony and records, which can be presented to show your credibility, the system may begin to swing toward your side. Our team has been through this before, and will fight for you and your rights.
We believe your rights as a parent is one of the most important rights you have. Our team of skilled DCPP attorneys fight like you wouldn’t believe to help you protect your parenting rights. Give us a call on our 24/7 toll free hotline at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529), and we would be honored to help you defend your rights.
Having DCPP, which was formerly known as DYFS, come to your front door is a scary thing, and it often makes people’s emotions run wild. If child welfare workers end up taking your child from your home, you may get the sense of helplessness, loneliness, and anger. These emotions cause people to do things without thinking, especially when it involved your child. Before reacting without thinking, it is important to understand what your first steps should be in order to get your child back sooner.
While speaking to one of our NJ DCPP attorneys is always the safest move, we have listed a few steps below that you can do right away:
Step 1: Find a Place For Your Child to Go
Oftentimes, child welfare workers will ask you if you have any friends or family who would be able to take care of your child for the time being. Most of the time, putting your child in the hands of family or friends is preferred over putting your child in foster care. So, if a child welfare worker asks you if you know anyone who can temporarily take care of your child, call around and try to find a safe and comfortable place for your child.
Step 2: Pick up the Phone, and Call an Attorney
If DCPP has taken your child from your home, then they have already issued a court order, or they will be pursuing one immediately. This order allows DCPP workers to to remove your child from your home. Once this occurs, contact our attorneys, as they will help you understand your rights and how to defend them. Not only that, but we will also explain how the child welfare process works and what you can expect, so that your mind is at ease going forward.
Step 3: Stay on Top of the Investigation
Before any big decisions are made on the final placement of your child, DCPP will investigate your case. It is important for you to stay involved throughout this process. Be sure to discuss your rights with an attorney, and bring your child back home by working with DCPP to develop a safety plan. It doesn’t matter if you feel like the child welfare workers are with or against you, staying involved and being cooperative will help DCPP make the decision which is best for your child.
Step 4: If You Don’t Like It, Don’t Agree to It
One of your rights is to disagree with the decisions DCPP makes. It is possible to appeal decisions that were made such as substantiated findings, as well as services DCPP would want you to use. While you have the opportunity to work with your case workers to ensure your child comes back home by devising safety plans, sometimes they make requests that are unreasonable and unfair. This is just one reason as to why an attorney is so important, as they can advise you on whether or not you should agree to any decisions or requests.
If your child was taken from you, and you are not sure what the next steps may be, it is important to remain calm and to not overreact. If you are unsure what to do, call our team of dedicated and smart New Jersey DCPP attorneys our 24/7 toll free hotline at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529). We will be more than happy to help!
Child abuse allegations play a very large role in the divorce process in New Jersey, as it mainly affects the custody of the child. When going through a divorce, the judge will look at many factors to decide on who gets custody of the child. If there are abuse and neglect allegations made which are supported by signs of physical trauma, psychological problems, and more, then the custody of the child will be a disputed issue in the divorce. Since custody affects parenting time and child support, it is clear to see how these child abuse allegations get in the way of the divorce process.
It should come as no surprise that the court wants to do what’s best for the child and their safety. Now, this doesn’t mean the abusive parent will never see their child again, but it does mean that he or she may have limited time to spend with their child, all while being supervised. The court may also require that the abusive parent and child spend time together in public places. On top of that, abusive parents may be ordered to counseling or mental health services, and must complete them before spending time with their child. Usually, the court tries to allow limited visitation so that the abusive parent stays motivated to better themselves.
When discussing custody, parenting time, and child support, child abuse allegations come into pay, and affect the outcome of each. These allegations will undoubtedly complicate a divorce, and reaching out to an experienced attorney would be a smart move. In this situation, our attorneys will help you understand your rights, as well as help you reach a custody agreement that is in the best interest of both your child. On top of that, if the court orders you to do certain activities so that you can have visitations, our experienced and knowledgeable DYFS attorneys will be there to ensure that those orders are reasonable.
If you are going through a situation very similar to this, reach out to our team of tough, smart and dedicated NJ DYFS attorneys. Be sure to call our 24/7 toll free hotline at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529), and we’ll be more than happy to help!
When New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), which was formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), gets a claim that you abused or neglected a child, they will initiate an action against you. Once this happens, you will need to immediately contact a lawyer, as attorney representation is important from the start. Once the case is initiated against you, DYFS will go through several court procedures. Below is a list of the several steps the court usually goes through in cases like these.
- File an Order to Show Cause and Complaint: The court process begins by the filing of these papers. These papers show that DYFS believes you have abused or neglected a child, and DYFS may request that the child be removed from the home temporarily. These papers will also let you know that you are required to appear in court at a certain day and time. If DYFS removes your child from your home due to an emergency before first going to Court, on the next business day they must file a Complaint. Here, you are entitled to a preliminary hearing at the time the Complaint was filed.
- Preliminary hearing: Here, judges will decide whether or not DYFS should continue with the case, as well as if the child should live at home while the case continues. If there is satisfactory supervisions, or the abusive parent leaves the home, the judge may allow the child to stay at home. During this time, the judge may also order certain services such as psychological evaluations, substance abuse testing or treatment, or domestic violence services. Over time, these service providers will provide reports to the court with recommendations.
- Discovery: Discovery is the period where both sides gather additional information to defend their case. This occurs once the judge decides the case should move forward. It is also possible for the judge to schedule a status conference after the preliminary hearing. This way, the judge can keep an eye on where each party is in the discovering process.
- Fact-finding hearing: After discovery come a fact-finding hearing, which is very similar to a trial. Here, DYFS will present evidence of the claims against you, and then you get the opportunity to present a defense. The best way to prepare for this type of hearing is to do so with one of our New Jersey DYFS attorneys, as you can rely on them to protect your interests.
- Dispositional hearing: Once the fact-finding hearing is over, the judge will decide if you have abused or neglected your child, and why they have decided that outcome. If the judge finds you guilty of doing so, another hearing called the “dispositional hearing” will occur. The dispositional hearing will most likely occur immediately after the fact-finding hearing. Here, the judge will give you a list of steps you must complete, such as participate in counseling. While these steps are being completed, the judge will decide if your child will live with you at home or not. After the dispositional hearing, you have 45 days to file an appeal.
- Review hearings: If you have been ordered to complete services at the dispositional hearing, there will be additional review hearings so that the court can monitor your process. It is crucial to obey the orders given at the dispositional hearing, as the court will dismiss the case and allow your child to live at home with you again if they determine the home is a safe and stable environment to live.
- Permanency hearing: A permanency hearing will be held if the case stays open for more than a year. At this hearing, DYFS will present you with a permanent solution which gives your child a steady, long-term living arrangement. At this point, you have the right to offer the court an alternative plan. DYFS has the ability to file a separate court case to terminate your parental rights if they believe your house can’t become a safe place to live.
This process can be a grueling one, and can fuel many emotions. If you are looking for more clarity about DYFS court procedures, or if you are in need of a tough and smart team of lawyers, contact us through our 24 hour toll-free hotline at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529). Our hardworking and dedicated attorney’s will be there with you every step of the way.
Child abuse and child neglect are two harmful actions towards children, which threaten the health, safety, and development of a child. Both child abuse and child neglect can result in a child welfare case, so contact a dependable New Jersey DYFS lawyer right away. While both of these actions are harmful to a child, they are both caused by different actions. Below, our NJ DYFS law firm will go into a bit more on how you can differentiate between child abuse and child neglect.
What is Child Abuse?
Children can be abused in many ways. Whether it be physical, emotional, or sexual, child abuse is when a parent or caregiver is harming a child, or putting that child at risk of harm. Abuse can happen once, or it can be a series of events done by the parent or caretaker. Inflicting physical injury, emotionally abusing a child, or involving a child in a sexual act are all examples of child abuse. Any of these can psychologically and physically damage a child.
What is Child Neglect?
Child neglect is just as harmful as child abuse, although it differs in the sense that there is a lack of action by the caregiver. Meaning, if a parent of caregiver doesn’t give their child the proper care needed as a child, such as sufficient shelter, clothing, food, medical care, supervision, and education. While neglect is usually a string of ongoing mistreatment, it can also occur from one instance.
Being able to distinguish the difference between these two terms is very important. It is crucial to understand your rights when discussing your child and his or her safety. If you are facing accusations that you have abused or neglected your child, our team of New Jersey custody lawyers are dedicated and hardworking individuals, determined to help you get your child into the right hands. Call our 24 hour toll-free hotline now at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529) to discuss your case.
A law guardian is essentially your child’s defender. In legal situations, a child must have his or her voice heard, and in many family law cases, a law guardian can voice the wishes of the child. Law guardian’s are there to not only voice the child’s wishes, but they also serve to protect the interests of the child, independent of the parents’.
In cases involving child abuse, or in the event parental rights may be terminated, a law guardian is appointed. Both the law guardian and investigator will ask the child questions about the case, preparing them for court. If deemed necessary, evaluations like mental health evaluations may be coordinated by the law guardian. Although the law guardian is there to speak for the child, much like an attorney, they do not make the child’s decisions.
The law guardian has allegiance to the child, and the child alone, and has no affiliation with either of the parents or DYFS. Their sole purpose is to understand the wishes made by the child, and must present these wishes, as well as the child’s best interests, to the Court. Finding a skilled and caring law guardian is important, as they are the ones who help the child through the court process.
Consulting with a New Jersey DYFS attorney is highly advised if you are facing allegations of abuse and your parental rights are at stake. A well versed and experienced DYFS attorney can help you defend allegations of abuse or neglect made against you, helping you assert your rights in court. An attorney can also help you find out what the law guardian will say in regard to the child’s wishes, making sure the outcome of the case is fair and your child’s best interests are protected. If a law guardian is making your case difficult, we know how to fight back. Our team will fight for you, and will go to great lengths to make sure your case is strong.
If you are searching for an intelligent and reliable New Jersey DYFS lawyer, please contact our team at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529). This 24/7 toll free hotline is made available to you so that you can reach us at any time, further showing our dedication to you.
When it comes to DYFS child welfare cases in New Jersey, we understand how stressful and emotional they can be. Your custody rights are on the line, along with the right to see your kid, and DYFS can be tough to handle without the proper representation. With so much on the line, it is a smart idea to rely on a trusting team of hardworking and dedicated New Jersey DYFS attorneys. If you are facing a child welfare hearing in the near future, you are going to want to be prepared so that you know what to expect when the time comes.
If your child must attend the hearing, they may be appointed a law guardian, who can represent your child in the case. This law guardian cannot represent you if they are representing your child, as this would be a conflict in interest. If you are facing a similar situation, a lawyer can help you articulate your side of the story, as well as your desires. If you believe the evidence against you is incorrect, our attorneys can obtain certain documents you would not be able to obtain, which would help you challenge the findings presented in the child protection investigation. Attorneys can also make sure that any requirements the court put in place are relevant and that they can be reasonably met.
It is important to obtain a lawyer who has experience with DYFS cases, and someone who is willing to go the extra mile to keep you informed and involved throughout this difficult and fearful time. Don’t put this much importance in the hands of someone who can’t handle it, so call our 24 hour toll-free hotline at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529) and we’ll be happy to fight for you.
When it comes to findings in New Jersey, which are the outcomes of child protection investigations, not all are valid. These findings give DYFS the needed information to protect a child, as well as help the court put the necessary protections in place. Although DYFS works hard to protect children and their best interests, everybody makes mistakes, and you may disagree with their findings. If you disagree with what DYFS has found, then you have the right to appeal the findings from a child protection investigation.
Before appealing, it would be beneficial to understand a few things:
- After DYFS makes their decision, you can only request an appeal of one kind of decision they made. Other findings can be appealed, but substantiated findings are appealed differently than findings that are not substantiated.
- Once you have received the written notice of Substantiated findings, you must write your request of an administrative appeal hearing within the next 20 days.
- If the findings are “Established” or “Not Established,” you have 45 days to file your Notice of Appeal with the Appellate Division.
- While the hearing will be held in front of an administrative law judge, you will have the opportunity to argue your case and prevent evidence that will support your argument.
If you succeed in your appeal, the changed decision will be recorded, and copies of this change will be given to all parties who are interested such as law enforcement or other parties to the case.
Not many parents realize that DYFS makes wrong and uninformed decisions from time to time. If you do not agree with the decisions made in your child protection investigation, our team of highly intelligent lawyers can help. Be sure to call our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529), and we’ll be happy to help.
How long does a DYFS case last?
Every DYFS case is different and how your case will last will be based on a number of factors. These include the people in your case (judge, lawyers, case worker, etc) as well as the facts (or allegations). Some cases are quick while other cases take long time. So while we can’t tell you how long your case will last (without talking to you at least) there are a number of ways to shorten the case.
The best way to shorten the case is to get a good lawyer right way. Too many people wait to see how things go. This is a bad move. The moves made at the first court appearance often set the tone of the rest of the case. If you make the wrong move, you could dig yourself a hole that it tough to dig out of. You can also otherwise delay things. We’ve seen this happen so many times because after several months, the client finally decided to hire us because things weren’t going well. Quite often, the reason for this was because of the mistake made in the beginning of the case. Had we been on the case from the start, the case may have been over by now.
You also need a clear plan and you must follow that plan 100%. You cannot make up your own plan as you go along. For example, if you decide to go to drug treatment, you must do it perfectly. Blowing off several dates will not only delay the case but can get you kicked out of the program.
If you’d like our help to speed up your DYFS cases, call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW anytime.
Should I do a DYFS hair follicle test?
If DYFS wants you to do a hair follicle test, your case is probably not going well. This is because this test is not easily done and thus, it is rarely used. It is reserved for those cases where there are suspicions about the validity of a urine test or if there are other issues that require closer scrutiny. This test is preferred in those circumstances because the test cannot be adulterated and it goes back much farther than urine. This is also causes a bigger problem because it may not capture current usage but instead reveal prior usage that has since stopped.
If you accept it, you can be putting yourself at great danger. If you refuse, DYFS can take you to court. As a result, your best option is to seek the advice of a DYFS defense lawyer before doing anything. If you are facing a hair follicle test that was requested by DYFS, call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW anytime.
Should I give DYFS a urine test?
This is a tough one because you rarely have a lot of time to really think about it. If DYFS calls you to take one and you refuse, they will likely use it against you. Of course, if you take one and your fail, you’ll likely be in court. See the dilemma?
But you have nothing to hide right? Well the problem here is that with the DYFS providers you will go to, there seems to be a high chance of false positives. We’ve seen too many people test positive for heroin, cocaine and other drugs when there is no way they ever touched these drugs in their lives. Nevertheless, these false tests caused a lot of problems for them.
Don’t less this happen to you. If you can safely call a lawyer before you make any decision to give a urine test, you should do so. Call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW anytime.
Will DYFS talk to my kids at school?
DYFS will often seek to talk to your children at school. What’s worse is that they won’t give you notice that they are doing this. Its not until your children come home from school that you learn that someone (the caseworker) pulled them out of class to pump them for information about you. This interview will not be recorded and who is to say if the case worker’s notes are correct?
There are a number of ways you can help prevent this. They best way to prevent this is to hire an experienced DYFS defense lawyer right away. Often times, your lawyer can negotiate with their lawyer to either prevent the children from being interviewed or doing so in a controlled environment.
Call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW anytime.
How do I prevent DYFS from talking to my children?
You can prevent DYFS from talking to your children outside of your presence by hiring a lawyer ASAP to help manage the case. A DYFS defense lawyer can negotiate with their lawyer to come up with a plan to close the case. In some cases, DYFS will just go away without requiring any further involvement. In other cases, much more is needed.
If DYFS can be assured through other means that the children are fine, they may forego an interview. Call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW anytime. We can help you prevent the DYFS case worker from talking to your children.
Should I complain about my DYFS case worker?
This is another tough situation. You don’t want to let your case worker run all over you but you don’t want to make things worse. I often tell my clients that I am the complaint department. Let me decide what to complain about and what not to complain about.
In most cases, the case worker’s supervisors will stick up for them. If the case worker has done anything wrong, you may run into denials unless you have concrete proof of them doing anything wrong.
The other problem you have is that you are going to be way too emotional about the situation and as a result, they may not listen to you. In fact, you’ll probably make things much worse. If you have a problem with a case worker, call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW anytime.
How can I get my kids out of foster care?
There are several ways to get your kids out of foster care. In some cases, the children are in foster care due to the allegations against you. If the allegations are disproven, then they should be returned to you.
More often than not however, the kids are in foster care because of services that need to be completed such as drug treatment. Complete those services and you should be able to get them back. Of course, that’s easier said than done and it take a lot of time.
Your best bet to get them out quicker is to find a family member or friend that can take them. However, you can’t always rely on DYFS to come up with these solutions. You need an experienced defense attorney to come up with a good solution to get the kids out of foster care. If you need help with this, call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW anytime.
Should I let the DYFS case worker into my house?
This is a tough question because you don’t usually have the time to research the issue when it is presented to you. In other words, if you get a knock on the door from the case worker, you don’t really have the ability to tell them no, let me go research this issue first.
Hopefully, you got some other indication that DYFS is investigating you so you are trying to determine what to do if they come to your house. Like many other issues, we can’t tell you what to do but we can discuss why your lawyer may have concerns with how you handle this.
The concern here is that you don’t know what will happen when they get in there. Will they see something that can cause a problem? Will they count your medication? Will they take an issue with the alcohol you have? Will they talk to your children?
Before you make any big mistakes, call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW anytime.
Should I hire a private lawyer for my DYFS case?
As a private lawyer, you’d think we’d tell you that yes, you should always hire a private lawyer. However, you’d be surprised to learn that this is not always the case. If you have enough money to afford a private lawyer, you don’t really have a choice. The court will not just give you a public defender; you have qualify for one.
However, some people have family members that can pay for their lawyers and as a result, there is a choice involved. You should not assume that all private lawyers are good and all public defender’s are bad. Some public defenders are really great and they help us create the law that we use every day. There are also many private lawyers that are horrible.
The big issue here is that with a public defender, you are stuck with who you get. With a private lawyer, you get to choose the person in advance to make sure that they are qualified. In addition, you can fire that person at anytime if they do not perform to your satisfaction.
To discuss your case, call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW anytime.
The nature of a DODD hearing is that it is an emergency and thus, there is little time to prepare. However, that doesn’t mean that you should not do your best.
The first thing you should do is find a lawyer. Since you’ll only have a short period of time to find a lawyer and find some money, this can be difficult. Since we do this so often, our lawyers are available 24/7/365 and we can accept payments over the phone. While you are more than welcome to set up an in person appointment, this is sometimes not possible because there is next to no time between the phone consult and the DODD hearing.
The best way to prepare is to understand what to expect. That’s the purpose of this post. There are two basic issues that must be dealt with at the DODD hearing. The first is the placement of the children. Will they return home with you, go to a relative or stay in foster care? The answer to that question depends on the allegations in the case and availability of suitable relatives. Having an attorney that has the knowledge, experience and the relationships to get this done will go a long way. If you plan on having the children go to a relative, having that relative there will be very helpful.
The next issue to deal with will be services. In the DCPP context, services are the things you will need to do to fix your situation. Examples of services include psychological evaluations, substance abuse evaluations, drug treatment, domestic violence counseling, individual therapy, etc. What services you should do, when you should do them or if you should even do them will vary based upon a number of factors. This includes the strategy in the case, the allegations, your lawyer’s style, etc.
What makes DCPP so interesting is that every case is different. There is no one way to handle a given case. An experienced lawyer develops a feel for a DCPP case that cannot be taught. The bottom line is that you need a strategy going into the DODD hearing. You cannot just wing it and see what happens. If the DODD hearing is not handled the right way, success for the rest of the DCPP case may be hampered and/or delayed.
Call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss your DODD hearing and how we can help you.
Will hiring a lawyer for DYFS make things worse?
I hear this question all of the time and the answer is no, not even close. If you handle any situation without a lawyer, things can go very bad. A DYFS investigation is a very serious legal situation and you should never handle one without a lawyer. Unfortunately, too many people do and these people often wind up in court. These people usually don’t hire a NJ DYFS lawyer because they assume 1) everything will be alright, 2) if they hire a lawyer things will get worse and 3) the case worker is telling the truth when they say that the case will be closed quickly.
Do some people handle a DYFS investigation without a lawyer and they turn out OK? Sure. But this is a huge gamble. There are far too many people that wind up having to go to court. It may take months to get their children out of foster care and for some, they lose their children forever. So why risk it? It doesn’t cost much to hire a lawyer for a DYFS investigation so there is no reason to gamble with your family. Some lawyers, such as us, have free consultations so there is no reason not to pick up the phone and discuss your case with one of our lawyers.
What is a psychological evaluation from DYFS?
As a DYFS lawyer, there is nothing more irritating than a DYFS psychological evaluation. This seems like the ultimate hatchet job. See, no matter how normal you may be, DYFS’ psychologist will often find something wrong with you. You are presumed guilty and you have no opportunity to defend yourself. The fact that this is just allowed to occur is a travesty. These people ruin the lives of families across New Jersey and no one seems to care. So instead of this evaluation being used to confirm that there is nothing wrong with you, it is often used to find things that are wrong with you. You will be given a battery of tests and an interview. The evaluator will review all of DYFS’ reports which you might not even have access to. They will likely be considered credible. If this doesn’t sound fair, you’d be correct.
Of course, there is a way to fight back. First, you should avoid agreeing to a DYFS psychological evaluation until you speak to a DYFS defense lawyer. He or she can advise you as to the best court of action. If you have already done one or there is no choice but to take one, you should consider taking your own psychological evaluation. Not just any evaluation will do. You will need to find someone that has experience in this area and that is rare. Your DYFS defense lawyer should be able to help you find the right person that can help you out.
The key to fighting against DYFS is to fight back and with an experienced defense lawyer. Call our team of tough, smart lawyers today to discuss your case and to see how we can help you.
Do I have to sign the HIPPA form from DYFS?
Quite often, DYFS will be investigating you for one thing, but then their investigation will go into other areas. This is not always obvious. However, the most obvious sign that they are doing this is when they ask you to sign a HIPPA release especially when the case has nothing to do with medical issues. Consider this common scenario. A DYFS case worker comes to your house to investigate a report of you hitting your child. Your child is old enough to be interviewed and he or she says that nothing like that has ever happened yet. Case closed right? The case worker leads you to believe that this is the case but she wants you to sign a HIPPA release form to talk to your doctor. What does your doctor have to do with alleged child abuse? Nothing of course!
Many of my clients with in court cases are not brought to court for the initial allegation. Instead, they are being brought to court for something that DYFS discovered during the investigation for the initial allegation. To avoid this, you should call an attorney before you sign anything. Since you never know when a DYFS case worker will ask you to sign something, it is best to call a DYFS defense lawyer at the first sign of any possible DYFS involvement. Call our team of tough, smart lawyers today to discuss your case.
What is a safety protection plan?
A safety protection plan, sometimes called a case plan is simply an agreement between you and DYFS that you will or not do something. This give DYFS some time to decide what they are going to do with their investigation. Are they going to investigate further? Take you to court? Put the children in foster care? In my opinion, they seem to set up these safety protection plans just to see if you will violate them. They can then use this violation as a basis to bring you to court whereas before there was no basis to bring you to court. In addition, DYFS may ask you to make admissions in this safety protection plan that can be later used against you.
The best way to avoid these mistakes is to hire a lawyer before you say or do anything. Of course, you should never put your family in danger which may require you to sign something you’d later regret. Use your best judgment but hire a DYFS defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you fix any mistakes you’ve made such as making admissions on the case plan. Call us today to discuss your case.
The school called DYFS on me
Your kid’s school is one of DYFS’ greatest allies. They work hand in hand with DYFS to report on you and to give the case worker access to your kids so that they can be interviewed without your knowledge or consent. Its no wonder so many people home school their children. If the school calls DYFS on you, it is important that you take this matter very seriously. Unlike other situations where a neighbor or an anonymous person calls DYFS on you, things get more serious when the school calls. First, if this matter goes to court, a judge is more likely be believe a school official than they would a neighbor. Second, your child will likely have to go back to this school. You can be sure that the school will be in regular contact with the DYFS case worker. This puts you in a very tough position.
Don’t fight these two powerful state agencies alone. Call our team of tough, smart lawyers today to discuss your case. We’ll help you fight back against DYFS and the school.
How to find out who called DYFS on me?
We often get asked by clients how to find out who called DYFS on them. First, this is not always possible because there is a child abuse hotline that allows callers to be anonymous. As a result, the case worker probably doesn’t even know who called so thus, they can’t tell you. Second, DYFS information is confidential, so it can be very difficult to obtain this information. However, there are ways to challenge the information provided by DYFS to and to find out who called. Knowing who called can allow you to take the appropriate measures to make sure that are better protected if they call again. For example, if it was a family member that you shared confidential information with, you may want to stop talking to that person. If you are facing a DYFS investigation, call our team of tough, smart lawyers today to discuss your case.
My neighbor called DYFS on me
We hear a lot of complaints about neighbors calling DYFS on people. This is very common in apartment buildings but can happen in regular houses as well. The best way to respond to it is to make DYFS go away and go away quickly. This can be best done with the assistance of an attorney. In our experience if your neighbor sees that DYFS goes away quickly, they will realize that their efforts were pointless. Clients routinely report that before they hired us, DYFS has investigated them numerous times. However, it is very rare that these same clients ever have a problem after we are done with the case. Thankfully, once we help them clean up their DYFS situation, it never comes back.
DYFS showed up to my house with the police
DYFS uses a lot of scare tactics to bully parents around. Most people are good people and they respect authority. So when DYFS comes to your house with the police, it gets the attention of the parents. Unless DYFS is there to take your children or the police are there to arrest you, there is very little that either DYFS or the police can do to you. I once received a call from a client that had the police at their door. The client put me on the phone with the police. I asked if they had a warrant and when they said no, I suggested they hit the road. Of course, there is not something you should try without a lawyer.
So if you think DYFS can show up to your house, call our team of tough, smart lawyers before they show up to your house with the police. This way you won’t have to figure out what to do you on your own.
Do I have to let DYFS in my house?
This is another very common question that like most DYFS issues, is very difficult to answer. Without the police, DYFS cannot force their way into your house. However, if you fail to let them in your house, they could come back with the police and take your children. Of course, if you do let them in your house, you could give them enough evidence to take your children and/or bring you to court. See why this is a difficult issue? If you have any advance notice that DYFS will be coming to your house, call our team of tough, smart lawyers first. We almost always advise our clients to not let DYFS in their house. However, we only advise this to them because they have retained us. They are now protected by us. Hiring an attorney changes everything which is why we can tell our clients to not let DYFS in their house.
If you are concerned about allowing DYFS in your house, call our team of tough, smart lawyers first before you say or do anything. Our initial consultations are free.
How to get children out of foster care
If DYFS has placed your children in foster care, the fastest way to get them out is to hire a good lawyer as soon as possible. Time is just not on your side with these cases. The first obvious step is to challenge the removal. Of course, you have no time to do this. When DYFS does take your kids, you will only have a few days until the first court appearance. One one hand, this is good that you get an opportunity to fight back so quickly but it also limits your ability to hire a good lawyer. This first court appearance is so crucial (this is called a DODD hearing). If the wrong moves are made, it could delay the children coming home for quite some time.
If your DYFS lawyer has exhausted all possibilities to get the children out of foster care and returned to you, the next thing to focus on is whether or not the children can be returned to a family member or a friend. Sometimes, you have to focus on more than one option at the same time. Your focus must be on getting the children out of foster care right away. It is very difficult to lose your children forever if they are with a family member or a friend you can trust.
Call our team of tough, smart lawyer today to discuss your DYFS matter.
NJ Domestic Violence Lawyers
DYFS often gets involved when parties who have children are involved in a domestic violence situation. Domestic violence is an umbrella term that can refer to a number of situations. These include an argument that does not involve police, an argument that does involve police, criminal charges, restraining orders as well as divorce and custody cases involving domestic violence accusations. DYFS can handle these allegations either in court or out of court. Regardless of which they choose, they can attempt to force you into various evaluations and classes such as GEM counseling, ADV and others.
Before you agree or refuse to do anything, you should first contact an attorney to discuss your options. The sooner you call an attorney the more options the attorney can give you. We have successfully helped numerous clients with any number of domestic violence issues both involving or not involving DYFS allegations. Thinking you can just handle this on your own may be a big mistake. Call us to discuss your case for free and how we can help you.
New Jersey Divorce Lawyer
Unfortunately, DYFS allegations find their way into New Jersey divorce cases. This can really catch your divorce lawyer off guard and leave you without adequate protection. See, most divorce lawyers are not DYFS experts. In fact, many have handled a few to no DYFS cases in their career. Its a very specialized field. A smart attorney will promptly advise the client that they should at least consult with someone that handles these types of cases. However, there are plenty of lawyers that will not do so and instead, they will make a complete mess out of the case.
If you suddenly find yourself dealing with DYFS allegations during your divorce, call us right away. You may have a number of options available to you. These can include having us consult with you out of court, becoming “second chair” on your divorce case (working side by side with your divorce attorney) or we can take over the entire case. We have built a great team of lawyers in this office. Some of us focus more on DYFS cases while others focus more on divorce. Thus, we could put a winning team together for you to battle your divorce case and your DYFS case at the same time just as we have done for countless other clients.
Is DYFS allowed to speak to my kids?
DYFS always wants to speak to your children because they want to gather information against you. If you don’t allow them to speak to your kids, they can take you to court to force you to do this. Its not too often that this happens but I have seen it. One of the reasons why it is not too common is because DYFS can go to your kids’ school and take them right of class. New Jersey law permits this and there is not much you can really do about it. In other words, your children are sitting ducks at school
That’s why DYFS hates it when you home school your children. When you do, you cut off this easy access that they otherwise would have had. Like just about every issue involving DYFS, you shouldn’t make any decisions as to what to do or not to until you speak to a DYFS lawyer. In some cases, we advise our clients to not let DYFS have any access to their children. In other cases, we do authorize it but under the right circumstances.
Should I do a DYFS substance abuse evaluation
I get this question a lot but there is no real easy way to answer this except to say that you should not take any action without first seeking the advice of a qualified DYFS lawyer. Even if you think that you have nothing to hide, you may still wind up with a bad result from a DYFS substation abuser evaluation. False positives can be common. This test can then be used to take you to court which may lead to your children being put in foster care. Of course, if you refuse to do the test, DYFS can then use that to take you to court. If you have to choose between the two scenarios, it is probably better that they take you to force you to do the test.
However, going to court should be avoided at all costs. That’s where a lawyer comes in. DYFS goes after a lot of people that don’t have the money to protect themselves so hiring a lawyer to go to court isn’t always a viable option. Thus, before you agree or refuse to take any evaluation, call a NJ DYFS lawyer first. Only then can you make a proper decision.
Will hiring a lawyer make DYFS come after me?
This is a common question and I don’t know where it comes from. Regardless of people think that hiring a lawyer will cause problems for them with DYFS, I can assure you that in general, it is completely false. Of course, if you hire the wrong lawyer, you could make things worse. If you hire the right lawyer, you stand a much better chance of preventing your children from being placed in foster care.
Sometimes, the DYFS case worker will tell you that if you hire a lawyer, they will have to get their lawyer involved. They say this like its a threat but you actually want this to happen. You want their lawyer to review this case and take charge of the situation. Without that, there is no order to the case. The case worker may say that they will close the case if you do one more thing but then after that, it may be another thing and then another. When the attorney for DYFS is involved, your lawyer can work with them to figure out exactly what needs to be done to close out the case.
Our New Jersey DYFS Lawyers represents hundreds of people / couples each year facing DYFS / DCPP investigations. We realized that there were just far too many to post in our Big Wins page and most of the cases were fairly similar. In all of these cases, DYFS / DCPP was bothering the client(s) and they wanted our lawyers to make them go away while at the same time preventing DYFS / DCPP from taking them to court. In all of these cases, we were successful. Just like our other list of Big Wins, this list will never be close to complete. It will just give you an idea as to the number of people we have helped. As always, every case is different and there is no lawyer on this planet that can win every single case. However, our success rate is very high.
It is important to note that all of these people accepted these basic principles:
1. Hiring a lawyer will not make things worse
2. They would trust our advice and not make any assumptions
3. They didn’t think that it would just go away or that they could handle it.
Anna Marie B
Passaic County DCPP Lawyers help client get children back
This client had a different attorney prior to hiring us. She wanted us to get the job done and get her children back. Our DCPP lawyers fought hard and we quickly got her children back. A short time later, we were able to get the case dismissed. Had the client hired us sooner, our lawyers could have helped her get the children back much sooner. If you want to avoid that mistake, hire the right lawyer from the start of the case!
Sussex County DCPP Lawyers help client achieve reunification with her child
This was a strange case because DCPP really had it out for the client. The client had a serious drug problem but we got her the help she needed. In fact, her compliance was flawless. Despite that, DCPP still fought us every single step of the way for unknown reasons. Despite that, we were able to help the client achieve reunification. This shows that when you have a lawyer that will never stop fighting for you, even the most difficult cases can be won.
Morris County DCPP Lawyers helps client get her child back after relapse
This case started out easy enough. Like many clients, she had a serious drug problem. We got her into the services that she needed and the case was going fine. However, she relapsed rather late into the case and as a result, it looked like we would have to fight it out at the permanency hearing. When the going gets tough, we get tougher! Our lawyers fought hard and worked to avoid a permanency hearing. As a result, the client was reunified with her child and the case was closed well ahead of the permanency hearing.
Toms River DCPP Lawyer gets Order to Show Cause Dismissed
Our client was accused of assaulting his older son. However, the client indicated that he was defending his younger son who was being assault by the other older one. The two sons were from different mothers and as a result, this litigation only dealt with the younger son. The thought process here from the State is that if someone assaults one child, they will assault another. Of course, there is nothing to support that logic and Jef argued to the court that the case should be dismissed. The court adjourned the order to show cause to another date for further consideration. On the return date, the order to show cause was dismissed.
We get tons of calls each day about people dealing with DYFS investigations, DYFS in their life, DYFS just left my house, I got a call from DYFS, etc, etc. Whatever you want to call it, DYFS is bothering you, the case is not in court yet and you don’t know what to do. So as to help you make the right choice, what follows are some of the frequently asked questions we get asked almost every single day.
1. Should I comply with DYFS? Should I speak to DYFS? Should I submit to a DYFS substance abuse evaluation? Do I have to let DYFS in my house? Etc.
This is a tough question. DYFS cannot force you do do anything, only a Court can. The issue is whether or not you should do something. Every case is different and I do not offer cookie cutter representation. I generally tell my clients not to do anything until I tell them to do something but if you are not a client, that doesn’t mean you should do or not do anything. That brings me to the next question…
2. Do I need an attorney?
While you don’t “need” an attorney, you also don’t “need” a car. The issue is whether or not you should hire an attorney. In my opinion, handling any legal matter without an attorney is crazy. Even though we are attorneys, we still have to hire attorneys to help us with any number of legal issues. If we wouldn’t handle our own legal issues, why should you? Likewise, if you needed surgery, would you buy a scalpel and do it yourself or would you hire a surgeon to do it? Thus, if you are not ready to perform your own surgery, you shouldn’t try to be your own lawyer.
3. But DYFS says that the case will be closed; its an easy case; I don’t need a lawyer; they have to take the case to court if I get a lawyer; etc.
I have yet to meet a client that trusts DYFS and yet for some reason, people believe what they say when it comes to hiring a lawyer. Don’t you think they are just a little biased here? Why would you trust anything they say?
4. Will getting a lawyer upset DYFS and cause more problems?
Do you honestly think we would do anything that would harm your case? We have helped 100’s upon 100’s of people avoid court. In addition to saving them thousands of dollars, they didn’t have to deal with the nightmare that is a DYFS court case.
5. You are too expensive, I want a cheaper lawyer
Ok, this isn’t really a question, but I hear this every now and then because DYFS has a war on the poor. Look at it this way, why do you think we charge what we charge and why some other lawyers are cheaper? Wouldn’t these other lawyers put us out of business? Why would anyone hire me? Why would 100’s of people trust us with their safety? Ever hear the saying that you get what you pay for?
6. Why should I get a lawyer because I didn’t need one last time and/or someone I know didn’t need one?
Clearly, not everyone that encounters DYFS hires a lawyer and plenty of people wind up just fine. Of course, there are many other people that don’t and wind up in court. So many of our in-court cases could have been kept out of court if they had just hired us first. Almost all of our cases never see the inside of a court room. These cases are not that expensive. Are you really willing to roll the dice to save just a little bit of money when the downside is a very expensive in-court DYFS case where your children may be placed in foster care and in the worst case scenario, you’re parental rights may be terminated? Also, ready the “DYFS Trap” via the above link for more information.
7. Can you guarantee (fill in the blank)?
In my opinion, it is illegal for lawyers to guarantee you anything. What we can tell you is that our track record is clear and we have shown time and time again that we know how to win. 100’s of people have trust us to help them and their family.
8. Another lawyer told me (fill in the blank)?
I never really understand this question. If you are looking for us to help you, all that matters is our advice, not the advice of anyone else. If a lawyer gave you advice and you didn’t even hire that person, I don’t know how or why this other lawyer was even in a position to give you advice.
Jersey City, Hudson County Superior Court
This was a case that made news around the world. Its every parent’s worse nightmare: you hire a nanny to watch your baby only to find out that the nanny is abusing the baby! The client was caught via a webcam and soon after the incident, she was unable to be located for several months. As a result, she was declared a fugitive. The video of the client assaulting the baby was all over the news. Eventually the client was caught. This is an impossible case to defend right? Not so said our Hudson County Child Abuse Lawyers.
We took the emotion out of this case and broke it down to what it was, not what it seemed like. A careful examination of the facts and the law clearly showed that the client did not have the intent to harm the baby and that no harm was actually done. We were fully prepared to take the case to trial but right before jury selection the client agreed to accept a plea deal to a 3 flat. After the client was sentenced, she will be eligible to get out of prison in just a few months. While our Hudson County Child Abuse lawyers were ready to take the case to trial, we understood the client’s position. A few months in prison is much better than spending several years in prison if she was convicted.
How can our Hudson County Child Abuse Lawyers help you?
The Atlantic County DYFS Attorneys of the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq. have helped another client win a fact finding hearing. In an Atlantic County DYFS case, the trial is called a fact finding hearing. At this hearing, an Atlantic County Superior Court Judge will decide if the Title 9 abuse or neglect charges should be substantiated.
In this case, our DYFS attorneys were presented with a number of difficult facts. Many DYFS cases only involve one set of allegations but this case involved three. First, DYFS alleged that our client had committed acts of domestic violence against the mother of the children. Then he is alleged to have choked his daughter and smacked his son. This is classic child abuse but the technical term is excessive corporal punishment. Finally, DYFS also alleged that our client a substance abuse problem.
To many attorneys, this may seem like an impossible case to win since there are three trials in one. However, our Atlantic County DYFS Attorneys know how to fight. We took this case to trial and after the fact finding hearing was over, the judge had indicated that we won the case. Despite DYFS trying three different ways to nail our client, we still won the entire case!
The facts of this case represent a very common fact pattern that our Mercer County DYFS Lawyers often see. Mom gives birth to a child and at the hospital, it is discovered that mom used drugs while she was pregnant. This can be determined through a number of ways. Sometimes, the mom will admit during prenatal care that she has used drugs during the pregnancy. In other cases, either the mom or the baby will test positive for drugs. Sometimes it is the baby’s Meconium which may be tested by the hospital to check for drug use. Finally, in other cases, the baby may exhibit withdrawal symptoms.
In this case, our Mercer County DYFS Lawyers took the case to trial which is called a fact finding hearing. There, we fought hard for our client and argued that, despite the allegations, DYFS did not have the evidence needed to find that our client had abused or neglected or child. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge found in our favor and the child abuse charges were dismissed.
Our Trenton office is easy to get to from anywhere in Mercer County so call us at 732-773-2768 to discuss your case.
Middlesex County Superior Court
Our New Brunswick DCPP Lawyers have helped a client win a permanency hearing in Middlesex County. In a DCPP case, a permanency hearing is the final hearing in the FN litigation. DYFS will ask the Court to change the plan from reunification to something else such as termination of parental rights. In this case, DYFS was pushing to change the plan but our lawyers fought back! Our New Brunswick DCPP Lawyers helped our client get an extension so that he can continue to demonstrate compliance. If he does that, he will be reunified with his children and the case will be closed. We hope to report that our DYFS lawyers were able to do that for him in the next few months.
Ocean County Superior Court
This was a very interesting, yet complex case. The case involves a lot of different players as our client is both a parent to a young child and also a grand parent. Thus, there are two sets of parents in this case. The allegations involved a complex history of incest, sex abuse, kidnapping, drug use, etc. The complaint was rather lengthy and it took some time to unravel the entire story. Our lawyers excel at dealing with complex cases and that’s what we did here. We broke the case down to its individual parts and in the end, a complex case turned out to be a one issue case. We were fully prepared to tear apart the case at the fact finding trial but beforehand, we spoke wot the DYFS DAG. As a result, the fact finding hearing was avoided and the Title 9 child abuse and neglect allegations were thrown out. This was a huge victory and it will help our client fully regain her parental rights.
H.M. Hackensack DYFS (DCPP) case
This client originally hired another lawyer from a firm with a website that is filled with DYFS and other key words. Of course, anyone can hire a company to write such a website. That doesn’t mean that these lawyers have success with DCPP cases. Luckily for the client, he fired this firm shortly after hiring them and hired us. Our Hackensack DCPP lawyers fought the case hard. Even though the judge had already found that the client had a long standing drug addiction, our lawyers were able to get the client his child back. Since he split up with his wife, the judge had to choose between him and the mother and she chose him, our client.
If you want help in getting your child back, call our team of tough, smart Hackensack DCPP lawyers today to discuss your case.
In this case, our client was accused of making threats to harm his children. Although these threats were due to mental illness, DYFS still brought him to court. His prior attorney was able to get the case dismissed however, DYFS still substantiated him for child abuse and neglect. As a result, the client needed to file an OAL appeal. Since his prior lawyer didn’t have much DYFS experience, he hired us to make sure the case was dismissed. Recently, we received notice that the finding was reversed and thus, the client has been removed from the database. This was important because although the DYFS case was dismissed, the client still had problems with parenting time due to the finding of abuse and neglect against him. This reversal will help our DYFS lawyers help the client secure a proper parenting time schedule in his divorce case.
Call our DYFS OAL Appeal Lawyers anytime to discuss your case.
Our Toms River DYFS Lawyers pulled off a major victory today. Our client had been dealing with DYFS for about two years. She was going to hire us before the case went to court but then decided on another firm. Unfortunately for her, this was the wrong choice. DYFS brought the case to court. As the months went on, her case quickly spiraled out of control. Her parental rights were impacted and all of her parenting time had to be supervised. Eventually, she realized that she made the wrong choice and she hired us. We had a lot of work to do as the case was a mess. The client’s husband was the main one pushing the case. So we had three attorneys in the case working against us. DYFS was pushing for her to go in-patient which would have been a disaster for her case. The judge was a second away from putting her in but we kept it from happening. A few weeks later, we were able to get the entire case dismissed. This is just another example of what our Toms River DYFS Lawyers can do when we fight for our clients.
Please note that this is my opinion only. There are laws that DYFS has to follow and then there are internal policies or rules that DYFS has to follow but just like any other agency, it doesn’t mean that they always will. The Internet has made things difficult for lawyers because clients can get some information, some of which may be wrong, and then they twist it around to benefit their case. Even though the lawyer is the expert, they try to tell the lawyer that he/she is wrong because of something they read on the Internet!
One recent example involves a client who thought that she didn’t have to speak with DYFS because they only have 60 days to complete their investigation. Since it has been more than 4 months, the client wanted me to confirm that she could just tell them to go away. So, besides the client calling me with not even a thought of ever hiring me, she wanted me to confirm that she didn’t have to speak with DYFS and was then upset when I told her that she was wrong. DYFS doesn’t always follow their own rules and when they don’t, it doesn’t mean that you benefit.
The surest way to make sure DYFS goes away is to call a lawyer that knows what he/she is doing. As I have said before, plenty of people have made DYFS go away without a lawyer but plenty of people have also screwed up their case by handling it on their own and as a result, they wound up in court. Click on the “DYFS Trap” link above to learn more about why this happens.
Call our DYFS Investigation Lawyers today to discuss your case and how we can help make sure you don’t go to court.
One of the most frustrating aspect of my job is dealing with clients that make assumptions about their case. This often comes up when the client receives a letter from DYFS that the allegations were unfounded. They then call me only to ask me if they need a lawyer and then they proceed to tell me that they don’t need a DYFS lawyer because the allegations were unfounded. Or the other scenario is a couple where one wants a lawyer but the other parent doesn’t. Of course, the first question that comes up is why call a lawyer only to convince yourself you don’t need one? Putting that aside, I wrote the DYFS Trap so that people would understand why this thinking can get them in trouble. I didn’t invent this. I see this happen all of the time. I am attempting to share other people’s horror stories so that you can learn from other people’s mistakes. Unfortunately, not everyone does. I get several calls a week from people that just don’t get it.
Compounding this problem is that there are plenty of people that handle DYFS cases without an attorney and they come out fine. So, if they talk to another attorney or they talk to a friend, they will say “see, I don’t need an attorney because of ….”. This is only bolstered when the parent receives an unfounded letter. However, what they don’t understand is that when DYFS says that they “will be providing services to your family” is a huge sign of danger. As I indicated in the DYFS Trap, many people wind up in DYFS court because of their interaction with DYFS after the initial allegation and not because of the initial allegation itself. Thus, just because you don’t think that DYFS will substantiate you for the initial allegation or if DYFS has already given you an unfounded letter does not mean that you can breathe easily. Instead of assuming you are out of the woods, you should assume that you are in for big problems. Its much cheaper to stay out of court than to roll the dice and wind up in court.
If you received an unfounded letter but DYFS still wants you to do services, call our team of tough, smart DYFS Defense Lawyers to discuss your case.
Right before Christmas, DYFS took our client’s children from them. Of course, the timing for this couldn’t have been worse. However, our DODD removal lawyers couldn’t have imagined what we were walking into. The client didn’t mention that there were two prior DYFS cases in which the children were removed before. Thus, this was the third time that DYFS removed the children. Clearly, this case was much tougher than what our lawyers first thought. Making the situation even worse is that the judge handling the matter was the emergent duty judge, not the normal DYFS judge. It would have been understandable if this judge, having little to no DYFS experience, would have just kept the children in foster care until we could come back to court at a later date. This really wasn’t looking good.
Our Southern New Jersey DYFS Attorneys never let the pressure get to us. When the facts are tough, we get tougher. We worked with the law guardian and our co-counsel to team up against DYFS. However, Jef Henninger, Esq. Led the charge against DYFS. As a result of Jef’s hard-hitting argument, the judge sided with us and our client was given her children back. This was the day after Christmas, so although it was a little belated, the family was still able to have a great Christmas.
If you need our Southern New Jersey DYFS Lawyers to help you, call us today.