January 21, 2013

D.C.P.P.:  The Song Remains the Same

by W. Timothy Howes, Esq.

In 2012, the Division of Youth and Family Services, commonly known by its acronym “D.Y.F.S.”, changed its name to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.  D.C.P.P., as it is now known, appears to be nothing more than the same organization with a new name.  The personnel, the tactics and the results are the same, especially where “low-risk families” are concerned.

D.C.P.P. is the new name for the Division of the New Jersey state government with one of the most troubled histories.  But what’s in a name.  When the state changed the name of the organization from D.Y.F.S. to D.C.C.P. about one year ago, there was talk that the mission would change, especially where low-risk families are concerned.  One year later, the Division doesn’t seem to have changed anything more than its name.

There are plenty of occasions in which a family needs assistance and/or supervision from D.C.P.P..  It would be hard to find someone to disagree with the proposition that parents who severely abuse children should have those children removed.  There are also some that should be supervised by D.C.P.P. while they partake of rehabilitative services and/or parenting education.  Those parents have something in common:  They abused or neglected their children.

But what of the “low-risk” families?

Low-risk families are those families who have not abused or neglected their children, but somehow come under the watchful eye of D.C.P.P..  Despite the fact that there has been no abuse and no neglect, D.C.P.P. will often seek to supervise these so-called low-risk families, and to compel parents to undertake services or parenting education regardless.

The law does not require a parent to undertake services through D.C.P.P. without a court order.  A court order requires at least an initial showing by D.C.P.P. of abuse or neglect.  Thus, if D.C.P.P. does not substantiate abuse or neglect, then D.C.P.P. cannot compel that parent to submit to supervision, education or rehabilitative services.  Despite the lip service paid to the new mission where low-risk families are concerned, the Division continues to supervise them and monitor them at taxpayer expense.  The name has changed, but the song remains the same.

This article can be found on the web at: http://www.njcases.com/172/

If you need legal help in matters similar to those described in this document, call Howes & Howes for a prompt, confidential consultation.

Howes & Howes

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Raritan, New Jersey 08869

Telephone: (908)704-0037

email: info@njcases.com