How to prepare for a DODD hearing in a DCPP case

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?

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 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.

Call our team of NJ DYFS lawyers today on our 24/7 toll free hotline at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529).

What is a psychological evaluation from DYFS?

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 at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529) today to discuss your case and to see how we can help you.

Do I have to sign the HIPPA form from DYFS?

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?

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

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 at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529) to discuss your case. We’ll help you fight back against DYFS and the school.

How to find out who called DYFS on me?

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 at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529) to discuss your case.

My neighbor called DYFS on me

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.

Call our team today on our 24/7 toll free hotline at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529).

DYFS showed up to my house with the police

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.

Call our team of NJ DCPP lawyers today on our 24/7 toll free hotline at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529).

Do I have to let DYFS in my house?

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

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

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 at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529) to discuss your case for free and how we can help you.

New Jersey Divorce Lawyer

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?

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?

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.

Call our team of experienced and dedicated DYFS attorneys in New Jersey at 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529), and we will be happy to help you.

Will hiring a lawyer make DYFS come after me?

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.

Big Wins – DYFS / DCPP Investigations

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.

Victor A
Tom B
Bob B
Randy M
Tiffini M
Tim H
Mitchell T
Ashley M
Agnes F
Debra W
Bonnie F
John S
Chris F
Rob L
Kristina W
Sarah H
Sandra J
Jason P
Keith W
Julia C
Danielle S
Robert W
Evita E
Melanie V
Jennifer M
Michelle C
Natasha P
Janice C
Tony M
Kristina W
Osvaldo C
Angela N
Joanne I
Robert B
Robert C
Naomi G
Kelly H
Amy P
Syed A
Janice G
Terrence c
Ray S
Betty W
Jennifer M

Stacy R
Alana G
Gabrielle C
Richard P
Lynn S
Nicholas B
John C
Ana C
Latchman R
Laura S
Marisol K
Elizabeth B
Richard A
Stephen S
Carolann H
Wali W

Donna S
Salomen M
Agnes Z
Anna Marie B
Rebecca B
Shannon B
Lourdes G
Christine O
Sharon Z
Wendy B
Jaclyn F
Lisa W
Janet P
Yesenia P

Passaic County DCPP Lawyers help client get children back

Passaic County DCPP Lawyers help client get children back

Meredith M.

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

Sussex County DCPP Lawyers help client achieve reunification with her child

Christina M.

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

Morris County DCPP Lawyers helps client get her child back after relapse

Kristen V.

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

Toms River DCPP Lawyer gets Order to Show Cause Dismissed

Barry W.

Ocean County

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.



DYFS Investigations F.A.Q.

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.

Hudson County Child Abuse Lawyer helps client avoid lengthy prison sentence


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?

Atlantic County DYFS Attorneys win fact finding hearing


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!

Mercer County DYFS Lawyers help client win fact finding hearing


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 1-855-9JEFLAW (1-855-953-3529) to discuss your case.

New Brunswick DCPP Lawyers win Permanency Hearing in Middlesex County

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.

New Brunswick DCPP Lawyers

Toms River DCPP Attorneys win fact finding hearing in Ocean County Court

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.

Toms River DCPP Attorneys

Hackensack DCPP Lawyers help client regain custody of his child

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.

Lawyers win DYFS OAL Appeal for client accused of threatening his children


OAL Appeal

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.

Toms River DYFS Lawyers help client regain custody

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.

DYFS doesn’t have to follow any rules when the case is not in court

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.

A DYFS unfounded letter may not mean that you are out of the woods yet

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.


Cape May DYFS Lawyers Help Client Get Children Back After DODD Removal

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.

Despite drug use, Hackensack DYFS Lawyers help client get supervision order lifted


Bergen County

Client’s wife had a serious drug problem but little did DYFS know that our client had a bad drug problem as well.  He was ordered to supervise her parenting time.  However, he failed some drug tests and then the Bergen County DYFS office would up removing the child all together.  Of course, if the client would have hired a lawyer from the start, he may have stayed out of court, but DYFS did bring him to court which is when he hired our law firm.  We fought hard to make sure that the client gets parenting time even over the objection of DYFS.  Despite his wife’s problems, the judge granted our application for unsupervised parenting time.  In fact, we made so much progress that the case could soon be dismissed.

Hackensack DYFS Lawyers

Should I comply with DYFS (DCPP)?

Being in compliance with DYFS (DCPP) is a tricky subject.  DYFS will often ask you to sign a safety protection plan and then afterward use that to hold your feet to the fire.  However, safety plan or not, DYFS wants you to be in compliance.  In other words, they want you to do whatever they want you to do.  By complying with DYFS, you are likely helping them build a case against you.  Of course, if you don’t comply, they can bring you to court for your lack of compliance.  Thus, this is a big catch-22.  There is a way to avoid this.  Instead of dealing with DYFS on your own, have a lawyer handle the DYFS investigation for you.  Our track record has proven that a quality team of lawyers can help you fight DYFS and get your life back.


Freehold DYFS Attorney helps client avoid suspension of parenting time due to false positive drug test

John H.

As detailed in the “DYFS Trap” (see above) too many people get caught up with a DYFS problem because they think they have nothing to hide and/or they think that getting a lawyer will make them look guilty.  This is one of those cases.  The client actually called DYFS and offered to take a drug test to prove that the claims from his ex-wife were ridiculous.  Like so many of these stories, it blew up in his face.  He failed after eating a poppy seed bagel because the DYFS drug test didn’t use any cut off levels.  As a result, he was now looking at losing his parenting time.  Luckily, our team of tough, smart Freehold DYFS Lawyers helped the client avoid disaster.  We had 48 hours from the time the judge issued her tentative decision to the time of the motion hearing to change things around.  We fought hard and worked fast to help make sure the judge changed her mind.  It took a lot of work in such a short period of time but by the time we got to court, we were able to get the evidence before the court that showed that the client’s test was a false positive.  As a result, the client got his parenting time back.

Can eating a poppy seed bagel make you fail a drug test?

It sounds crazy but its one of those things that you never really know is true.  It turns out that the answer is “it depends”.  Using a crude drug test, MythBusters proved that eating a poppy seed bagel or just poppy seeds in general can cause you to come up positive.  See the mini-clip here.  Not only did the test come up positive, but it came up so fast.  Of course, MythBusters is more entertainment than science so looking at a 1998 study published in the Forensic Science International journal is better.  The study found that eating two poppy-seed rolls with an average of about .76 grams of seeds each caused positive test results for up to six hours in one person, ranging from 47.9 ng/ml to 832 ng/ml, depending on a variety of factors.  The same study found that eating a poppy-seed cake (which contained an average of 4.69 grams of seeds) caused all four people to screen positive for up to 24 hours—four times as long as the rolls—with one person’s results ranging between 83.8 ng/ml and 302.1 ng/ml.

Now I said it depends because most tests have cut off levels to account for this problem.  Eating a bagel will not give you the same level as doing heroin.  Unfortunately, DYFS of course may use tests that have no cut off levels!  A friend of mine just failed a drug test because he ate a poppy seed bagel because there was no cut off level.  As a result, eh was looking a having his parenting time suspended.  The judge had issued a tentative decision doing just that.  However, we were able to prove to the court that this positive drug test was bogus and as a result, his parenting time was not suspended.  Don’t let a DYFS drug test ruin your life.  Let our team of tough, smart DYFS Defense Attorneys help you.

Former DYFS psychologist threatens to prevent client from getting her child back


Middlesex County

This case became very personal for our office because the system really seemed out to get a great family.  The mother was facing felony criminal charges (which we later got dismissed) and at the same time, was facing a DYFS case.  The mother was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation with one of the worst DYFS experts ever.  This guy was horrible and thankfully, this case is one of the reasons why he is pretty much out of business.  This DYFS psychologist wanted the mother to discuss her criminal charges (which could have been used against her in both cases) but pursuant to her advice, advised him that she could not since her criminal case was pending.  His response was that if you don’t talk about your criminal charges, he will make it so she never gets to see her child.  This just sounds so crazy that it couldn’t be true but this client actually recorded the conversation.  Needless to say, this tape was sent to a lot of people.  Within a few months, the expert had his DYFS contract canceled.  Unfortunately, not every expert is dumb enough to specifically tell the client what they are going to do like this.

Don’t let a DYFS psychologist break apart your family.  Let our team of New Brunswick DYFS Lawyers fight back for you!

Client fails DYFS substance abuse evalution even though she doesn’t abuse substances!


Camden County

This case upsets me more than the average case.  It goes to show how corrupt our system in New Jersey can be.  DYFS received an anonymous call (although its obvious who called it in) about my client using drugs.  There is no evidence that she has ever used drugs, ever abused alcohol or ever failed a drug test.  For some reason, she decided to go to a DYFS substance abuse evaluation instead of hiring an attorney first.  Now most people in this situation figure, I don’t need a lawyer, I have nothing to hide.  How could I possibly fail a substance abuse evaluation with no drug or alcohol history?  Well, this client had a mother that apparently had some alcohol problems although it debatable as to how serious they actually were.  The DYFS evaluator was not happy with the client’s denials of the drug and alcohol abuse and as a result of her denials and family history, the evaluator thought that the client was minimizing her problems.  As a result, she was referred to out patient substance abuse treatment.  When she refused, DYFS took her to court.

Luckily, our Camden County DCPP Lawyers stepped in to prevent this, but none of this should have ever happened.  She did nothing wrong and this is the last person that DYFS should be focusing on.  So, before you tell yourself that you did nothing wrong and thus, taking a DYFS substance abuse evaluation can’t hurt, read this over carefully.


DYFS uses DODD removal to take child only because child had a criminal record

This case really upset all of the lawyers in our office.  A DODD removal is serious and should only be used in emergency situations.  As a result, some lawyers who are not as aggressive as our lawyers believe that there is nothing you can do at a DODD removal hearing in New Jersey because the judge will always go along with whatever DYFS/DCPP says.  This clearly is not the case.  We have had many cases where we were able to win the DODD hearing hearing get the children back.

Our attorneys hear all the time, “I didn’t do anything wrong, why do I need an attorney?”.  This case makes it clear that you don’t need to do anything to get your children taken away.  In this case, the simple fact of having a criminal record was enough to get the children removed.  If the parents had handled the DODD hearing wrong, the children may have been placed in foster care for a lengthy period of time.  Luckily, that didn’t happen to then but don’t let this happen to you!

Toms River DCPP Lawyers helps client close out child neglect case in 24 hours


Ocean County

One very common DYFS / DCPP scenario is when you leave your child in the car unattended.  Usually someone will see your child in the car alone and then call the police.  The police will then call dyfs /dcpp who can turn your life upside down.  This case could have been tough because the father had also served time in prison.  However, the parents did the right thing by calling a DCPP defense lawyer right away.  Our Toms River DCPP lawyers jumped right on the case and worked to close it out.  Within about 24 hours of being retained, our lawyers secured a resolution of the case so that it would be dismissed as soon as the case worker did a closing visit.  Thus, would could have turned into a complex DYFS investigation turned into a case in the process of being closed.

Call the Toms River DCPP Lawyers anytime to discuss your child neglect matter.

Morris County DCPP Lawyers help client get parenting time

Steven S.

Morris County

This is one of those tough cases because there were a number of allegations against the family.  It started with the child claiming that he was hit by a belt by his father.  The mother also admitted to a very severe domestic violence history which is always problematic.  Add drug use to that and this could be a very challenging case for most lawyers.  Luckily, our client hire our team of tough, smart Morris County DCPP lawyers.  The lawyer for DCPP (formerly DYFS) did not want our client to have any parenting time at all.  Nevertheless, our lawyers fought hard to make sure that he would be able to spend time with his family.  Our lawyers also made sure that he wasn’t subject to a schedule set by DCPP.  For some reason, DCPP likes to prevent clients from having parenting time but we never let them get away with that.  If the child is with a relative, the schedule should be up to the relative, not DCPP.

If you are facing a DCPP is Morristown, call our team of tough, smart Morris County DCPP Lawyers today to discuss your case.

Private Title 9 Complaint Dismissed by South Jersey DCPP Lawyers


Monmouth County

Our South Jersey DCPP Lawyers were faced with a very contentious case between two divorced parents.  Although the father was not a lawyer, he was a law school graduate so he was a unique pro se adversary.  Our client, the mother, was alleged to have been engaging in pornography around the children.  Not exactly your normal child abuse complaint.  The father complained to DCPP (formerly DYFS) but he was shut down.  As a result, he filed a Private Title 9 complaint.  Such a move is rare, but not unheard of for our firm.  In fact, our child abuse defense lawyers have filed these complaints on behalf of our own clients.  The father hired expert witness (so he claimed) and he was ready for trial.  Luckily, we were ready for this case and at a very lengthy oral argument, the judge granted our motion to dismiss the Title 9 complaint.  As a result, our client’s custody rights were not impacted.  She remains the parent of primary residence.

If you need help with any custody matter, call our team of NJ Child Custody Attorneys today.

NJ DYFS Lawyers help client closed neglect case related to home schooling child


Passaic County

In New Jersey, DYFS has a big problem with people that home school their children.  DYFS has big ties to public schools and when your child is not in school, they cannot spy on your family and cannot interview your child.  However, our team of tough, smart NJ DYFS Lawyers know how to respond to these cases.  Our team hit the case hard and worked to make sure that the client never lost custody.    She was able to keep custody of her child the entire time.  Our next goal for our lawyers was to close the case out and make sure DYFS gets out of her life.  Although the case had only gone on for a few months and there were still other things that had to be done, we were able to get the case closed out.

If you have a DYFS case in any court in New Jersey, call us today to discuss your matter with one of lawyers to see how we can help you.

Camden County DYFS Lawyers help Mother get parenting time


Camden County

Client has not had parenting time with her children in many months due to an on-going custody dispute with the father of her children.  Today, our Camden County DYFS Lawyers helped the client not only get parenting time, but she was able to get unsupervised parenting time.  We worked with all parties involved to craft a fair and reasonable parenting time schedule.  Thus, just in time for the holidays, our client will get to spend a lot of time with her children.

If you are facing child abuse charges in Camden County, call the team of tough, smart DYFS lawyers today to discuss your case.

The Hospital can test the Meconium to detect drug use during pregnancy

Hospitals, like schools, work hand-in-hand with DYFS (DCPP). If they suspect that you have been using drugs, they will scrutinize everything about you including everything you say or do. Besides testing your blood to determine recent drug usage, they will also test your baby’s meconium for drug use during pregnancy. Meconium is your baby’s first bowel movement. Its a dark, sticky and odorless tar like substance. It is one of the key tests use to bring a case against you.


If there is any talk about anyone at the hospital suspecting you of drug use, testing the baby’s meconium for drug exposure or calling DYFS, you should call a lawyer ASAP. The hospital will likely place a hold on your baby so that it cannot leave the hospital. DYFS will then issue a DODD removal and force you into court. Anything you say to anyone will be used against you. Thus, allowing an attorney to do all of the talking for you is highly advisable.


Keep in mind that the hospital will not just be testing for illegal drugs. Prescription drugs are more of an issue these days and if you do not have a prescription, the hospital will consider this as abuse. Of course, a DODD removal does not mean that all is lost. Our lawyers have been successful in helping clients get their babies back from DYFS right away. If the hospital has a DYFS hold on your baby, call our team of tough, smart NJ DYFS defense lawyers and let us help you get your baby home.

Is DYFS allowed to interview my child at school?

Today’s public schools have DYFS on speed dial.  DYFS knows that they can depend on the school to drop the dime on you at all times.  Its one of the reasons that I believe that DYFS has a big problem with homeschooling your child.  If you home school your child, there is no one to call DYFS on you.  Another reason that DYFS loves schools is that it gives them unfettered access to your child.  They can interview your child at just about anytime without any prior notice to you.

Because of this, I’ve actually had to suggest that some client’s keep their child out of school for a few days.  That is because the answer to the above question is yes, they can and they often do.  You need to keep this in mind when you are dealing with a DYFS case.  Of course, you shouldn’t take any action without first consulting with a lawyer.

DYFS Investigation Lawyer

Mother gets custody of children at DODD hearing

Client’s children were taken away from due to the husband’s mental health problems.  She hired us for the DODD hearing in Monmouth County and were made sure that we were ready.  One of our touch, smart DYFS defense lawyers were there to fight and as a result, we were able to get the children returned to her.  Furthermore, we do not believe that DYFS will be seeking a finding against her.  Thus, she will likely be dispositional only. Although the case will continue, most of it was already won at the first court appearance.

If you are facing a DYFS case in Freehold or any other town, call the team of tough, smart DYFS defense lawyers today to discuss your case.

Don’t let DYFS allegations impact your child custody case

Thankfully, DYFS doesn’t act on every allegation that they get.  When they don’t, the other parent could get upset and bring their own action to restrict your parenting time.  This can be a tough situation because its not technically a DYFS case but the other parent is using the DYFS allegations (that they may have called in) as the basis for bringing their motion.  As a result, some people may hire a New Jersey lawyer that knows nothing about DYFS and as a result, they could do a lot of damage to your case.  Our New Jersey DFYS lawyers also handle many child custody cases.  Thus, our team of tough, smart attorneys can handle your child custody case regardless of the content of the DYFS allegations.

New Jersey Child Custody Attorneys


Don’t let DYFS / DCPP threaten you not to get a lawyer

I hear way too often that people are scared to get a lawyer for a DYFS / DCPP investigation in New Jersey.  The case worker may say that if you hire a lawyer, they will bring you to court.  You have the right to an attorney at any point and I think it is insane to deal with DYFS / DCPP without an attorney. Often times, when confronted about this, the case worker will deny ever saying this.  Thus, I don’t think you’ll ever find anyone to say that this is some type of DYFS policy.  Instead, my personal opinion is that the case workers are scared of dealing with an attorney that handles DYFS cases because they know that they will not be allowed to bully you.  I’ve even had attorneys for DYFS try to bully and threaten me and I find these threats to be BS.  About 90% of the time I have been threatened, it turned out to be all talk.  Even if they follow through with their threats, my team is fully prepared to defeat the case against you.

DCPP Lawyers in New Jersey