New Jersey DYFS Investigation Process
Its rare that DYFS comes into your life and takes you right to court. Quite often, there is an investigation process. How you handle that process can make a difference as to whether it goes to court.
The start of the investigationA DYFS case in New Jersey starts with a call to DYFS. Anyone can call DYFS from a police officer, a school official or an anonymous person. Regardless of who calls, it will likely start with a knock on your door by a case worker. Because they rely on the element of surprise, they will almost never call you in advance to let you know that they are coming. Once they get there, they may ask you to sign papers, to agree to being restricted and to taking a variety of tests. They may also question you, your children, teachers, friends, neighbors, employers and others.
Options you haveYour first and best option that you have is to hire an attorney. Hiring an attorney at this stage of the case is much cheaper than waiting until the case goes to court. Only a trained NJ DYFS attorney can advise you if you should cooperate or not with some or all of the case worker's requests. There may be a number of other proactive measures you can take but again, your attorney will have to advise you as to how to handle the case. Of course, there are some situations where the attorney will suggest that you do not cooperate at all.
Please note that hiring an attorney will not make you look guilty. That is a common concern but it is unfounded. Hiring an attorney is the smartest thing you can do. Almost all of our in-court cases have one thing in common: they did not hire an attorney during the DYFS investigation. They waited until the case went to court.