Child Protection and Permanency
Monica Heinze, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, DCP&P Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Child Protection and Permanency, CP&P (formerly the Division of Youth and Family Services, DYFS), is New Jersey's child protection and child welfare agency within the Department of Children and Families. Its mission is to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children and to support families.
CP&P is responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect and, if necessary, arranging for the child's protection and the family's treatment.
Guide to Reporting Child Abuse/Neglect
How and When to Report Child Abuse/Neglect
In New Jersey, any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or acts of abuse should immediately report this information to the State Central Registry (SCR). If the child is in immediate danger, call 911 as well as 1-877 NJ ABUSE. A concerned caller does not need proof to report an allegation of child abuse and can make the report anonymously.
What information will I be asked to provide to the hotline screener?
CP&P screeners are trained caseworkers who know how to respond to reports of child abuse/neglect. Whenever possible, a caller should provide all the following information:
Who: The child and parent/caregiver’s name, age and address and the name of the alleged perpetrator and that person’s relationship to the child.
What: Type and frequency of alleged abuse/neglect, current or previous injuries to the child and what caused you to become concerned.
When: When the alleged abuse/neglect occurred and when you learned of it.
Where: Where the incident occurred, where the child is now and whether the alleged perpetrator has access to the child.
How: How urgent the need is for intervention and whether there is a likelihood of imminent danger for the child.
Do callers have immunity from civil or criminal liability?
Any person who, in good faith, makes a report of child abuse or neglect or testifies in a child abuse hearing resulting from such a report is immune from any criminal or civil liability as a result of such action. Calls can be placed to the hotline anonymously.
Is it against the laws of New Jersey to fail to report suspected abuse/neglect?
Any person who knowingly fails to report suspected abuse or neglect according to the law or to comply with the provisions of the law is a disorderly person and subject to a fine of up to $1000 or up to six months imprisonment, or both.
What happens after I make the call?
When a report indicates that a child may be at risk, an investigator from the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly Youth and Family Services) will promptly investigate the allegations of child abuse and neglect within 24 hours of receipt of the report.
Defining Child Abuse and Neglect
Abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional harm or risk of harm to a child under the age of 18 caused by a parent or other person who acts as a caregiver for the child.
Neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision for a child or adequate food, clothing, shelter, education or medical care although financially able or assisted to do so.
New Jersey Law
Statutes concerning child abuse can be found under Title 9. Children--Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts.
9:6-1. ABUSE, ABANDONMENT, CRUELTY AND NEGLECT OF CHILD; WHAT CONSTITUTES
Abuse of a child shall consist in any of the following acts: (a) disposing of the custody of a child contrary to law; (b) employing or permitting a child to be employed in any vocation or employment injurious to its health or dangerous to its life or limb, or contrary to the laws of this State; (c) employing or permitting a child to be employed in any occupation, employment or vocation dangerous to the morals of such child; (d) the habitual use by the parent or by a person having the custody and control of a child, in the hearing of such child, of profane, indecent or obscene language; (e) the performing of any indecent, immoral or unlawful act or deed, in the presence of a child, that may tend to debauch or endanger or degrade the morals of the child; (f) permitting or allowing any other person to perform any indecent, immoral or unlawful act in the presence of the child that may tend to debauch or endanger the morals of such child; (g) using excessive physical restraint on the child under circumstances which do not indicate that the child's behavior is harmful to himself, others or property; or (h) in an institution as defined in section 1 of P.L.1974, c. 119 (C. 9:6-8.21), willfully isolating the child from ordinary social contact under circumstances which indicate emotional or social deprivation.
Abandonment of a child shall consist in any of the following acts by anyone having the custody or control of the child: (a) willfully forsaking a child; (b) failing to care for and keep the control and custody of a child so that the child shall be exposed to physical or moral risk without proper and sufficient protection; (c) failing to care for and keep the control and custody of a child so that the child shall be liable to be supported and maintained at the expense of the public, or by child caring societies or private persons not legally chargeable with its or their care, custody and control.
Cruelty to a child shall consist in any of the following acts: (a) inflicting unnecessarily severe corporal punishment upon a child; (b) inflicting upon a child unnecessary suffering or pain, either mental or physical; (c) habitually tormenting, vexing or afflicting a child; (d) any willful act of omission or commission whereby unnecessary pain and suffering, whether mental or physical, is caused or permitted to be inflicted on a child; (e) or exposing a child to unnecessary hardship, fatigue or mental or physical strains that may tend to injure the health or physical or moral well-being of such child.
Neglect of a child shall consist in any of the following acts, by anyone having the custody or control of the child:(a) willfully failing to provide proper and sufficient food, clothing, maintenance, regular school education as required by law, medical attendance or surgical treatment, and a clean and proper home, or (b) failure to do or permit to be done any act necessary for the child's physical or moral well-being. Neglect also means the continued inappropriate placement of a child in an institution, as defined in section 1 of P.L.1974, c. 119 (C. 9:6-8.21), with the knowledge that the placement has resulted and may continue to result in harm to the child's mental or physical well-being.
9:6-8.9. ABUSED CHILD; CHILD ABUSE DEFINED
For purposes of this act:
"Abused child" means a child under the age of 18 years whose parent, guardian, or other person having his custody and control:
a. Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon such child physical injury by other than accidental means which causes or creates a substantial risk of death, or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ;
b. Creates or allows to be created a substantial or ongoing risk of physical injury to such child by other than accidental means which would be likely to cause death or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; or
c. Commits or allows to be committed an act of sexual abuse against the child;
d. Or a child whose physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as the result of the failure of his parent or guardian, or such other person having his custody and control, to exercise a minimum degree of care (1) in supplying the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical or surgical care though financially able to do so or though offered financial or other reasonable means to do so, or (2) in providing the child with proper supervision or guardianship, by unreasonably inflicting or allowing to be inflicted harm, or substantial risk thereof, including the infliction of excessive corporal punishment or using excessive physical restraint under circumstances which do not indicate that the child's behavior is harmful to himself, others or property; or by any act of a similarly serious nature requiring the aid of the court;
e. Or a child who has been willfully abandoned by his parent or guardian, or such other person having his custody and control;
f. Or a child who is in an institution as defined in section 1 of P.L. 1974, c. 119 (C. 9:6-8.21) and (1) has been so placed inappropriately for a continued period of time with the knowledge that the placement has resulted and may continue to result in harm to the child's mental or physical wellbeing or (2) has been willfully isolated from ordinary social contact under circumstances which indicate emotional or social deprivation.
A child shall not be considered abused pursuant to subsection f. of this section if the acts or omissions described therein occur in a day school as defined in section 1 of P.L.1974, c. 119 (C. 9:6-8.21).
9:6-8.10. REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE
Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse or acts of child abuse shall report the same immediately to the Division of Youth and Family Services by telephone or otherwise. Such reports, where possible, shall contain the names and addresses of the child and his parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control of the child and, if known, the child's age, the nature and possible extent of the child's injuries, abuse or maltreatment, including any evidence of previous injuries, abuse or maltreatment, and any other information that the person believes may be helpful with respect to the child abuse and the identity of the perpetrator.
9:6-8.13. PERSON MAKING REPORT; IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY; ACTION FOR RELIEF FROM DISCHARGE OR DISCRIMINATION
Anyone acting pursuant to this act in the making of a report under this act shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed. Any such person shall have the same immunity with respect to testimony given in any judicial proceeding resulting from such report.
A person who reports or causes to report in good faith an allegation of child abuse or neglect pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1971, c. 437 (C. 9:6-8.10) and as a result thereof is discharged from employment or in any manner discriminated against with respect to compensation, hire, tenure or terms, conditions or privileges of employment, may file a cause of action for appropriate relief in the family part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court in the county in which the discharge or alleged discrimination occurred or in the county of the person's primary residence.
If the court finds that the person was discharged or discriminated against as a result of the person's reporting an allegation of child abuse or neglect, the court may grant reinstatement of employment with back pay or other legal or equitable relief.
9:6-8.14. VIOLATIONS INCLUDING FAILURE TO MAKE REPORT; DISORDERLY PERSON
Any person knowingly violating the provisions of this act including the failure to report an act of child abuse having reasonable cause to believe that an act of child abuse has been committed is a disorderly person.