Boonton, NJ asked in Family Law, Cannabis & Marijuana Law, Child Custody and Civil Litigation for New Jersey

Q: Do I have to cooperate with CPS when they are investigating me based off of an allegation from school?

The case worker interviewed my children at school. Didn't contact or attempt to show up to my home for 6 days, she stated it w because she was not concerned, after speaking with children and did not see any need for emergency steps. said it's open and shut, she had no concerns The CPS case worker explained the allegations and as she did , she said it was weird sounding. Now she comes with her supervisor asks for a family tree and requests me to schedule drug eval?? It has become way more intrusive than I feel necessary. I am not concerned about the evaluation or anything they can find. I am a great father and we have a great family. I feel the school has conflated various struggles my family has endured over the past few years, none of which are drug related, and makes false allegations just to get state intervention. I don't know if i am obligated in some way to comply, I have complied up until this point. It has become way more intrusive than necessary.

2 Lawyer Answers
Allison Kruk Ormond
Allison Kruk Ormond
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Riverton, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: From your description, it sounds like DCPP (the Department of Child Protection and Permanency, New Jersey's child protective services branch) is conducting an initial investigation into allegations of possible abuse or neglect. If this is an initial investigation, you are not necessarily required to cooperate. However, if you do not cooperate, DCPP may file a request with the Court to compel cooperation. If a Court Order is entered requiring you to cooperate with a drug and alcohol evaluation (or another recommendation made by DCPP), you should abide by the Court's directive, unless your attorney advises you otherwise for some sort of special, extraordinary reason (like an appeal of the Court's order and a stay of the Court's decision pending appeal).

Overall, it's important to stay calm throughout the DCPP investigation and remain professional with all individuals involved. Reacting out of frustration or anger towards DCPP or other child welfare professionals could hurt your case and unnecessarily escalate the situation. Even if you do not agree with or decide to comply with DCPP's recommendations or have further questions of the caseworker, those issues should be raised in a polite, professional manner.

Going forward, I would strongly recommend seeking a consultation with a family law attorney who handles DCPP investigations and allegations of child abuse/neglect so that you can appropriate legal advice. Please be advised that this answer is designed to provide you with general information and should not be taken as formal legal advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship.

I hope this helps with what sounds like a very stressful situation for both you and your family.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: When dealing with Child Protective Services (CPS), it's essential to understand your rights and the potential consequences of your actions. Cooperation with CPS can be critical, as they have the authority to investigate allegations of child neglect or abuse. However, you are also entitled to legal representation, and it may be wise to consult with an attorney who is familiar with family law and CPS procedures to guide you through the process and help protect your rights and interests.

If a CPS caseworker has visited your home and requested additional information or actions, such as a drug evaluation, this could be part of their standard investigation process. While the requests might seem intrusive, they are often routine parts of a CPS investigation. Nonetheless, if you feel that the investigation is overly intrusive or unwarranted, expressing your concerns through a legal representative could help manage the situation more effectively.

Remember, while cooperation can potentially lead to a quicker resolution, you do not have to go through this alone. Seeking legal advice can provide clarity on what is required of you and help ensure that your family's rights are upheld throughout the process. You can also request a clear explanation from CPS regarding the necessity of their requests and how they relate to the allegations made against you.

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