Can I sue DYFS?


Parents often wonder if they can file a lawsuit against the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). A simple Google search will locate many websites devoted to the goal of “suing DYFS”. Does this really happen? How often? And, who is the prevailing plaintiff when battling the state of New Jersey over its flawed child protection agency?

Unfortunately, only in very limited circumstances can a parent sue DYFS for its often ill-conceived interference in family life. DYFS caseworkers are afforded immunity when performing work in their official capacity as employees of the state. Only when conduct is performed outside the scope of their broad-ranging job duties, or when action is taken that can be considered tortious, may an employee be subject to civil penalties.

Unfortunately, much bad behavior is tolerable when acting under the guise of “child protection”. Perhaps this is because our society feels a moral imperative to protect those who cannot protect themselves. But, does state interference truly prevent and/or remediate harm to children? Or is it more often the case that state involvement causes more harm than good?

To be certain, many families require state assistance in order to function minimally and to preserve their families. However, the vast overreaching of many caseworkers and investigators call into question the legitimacy of those well intentioned, dedicated social workers who are truly desirous of preventing out-of-home placement and keeping families together through the provision of services and proper case management.

As is often the case, it may be that the only way to effectuate change in the system is to initiate litigation and bring the problems to the forefront. Only when we begin to see the evisceration of families as a societal problem, and not just a poor person’s problem, will families in New Jersey truly be safe from obtrusive government intervention.

16 thoughts on “Can I sue DYFS?

    • Jordan, thank you for your kind remarks. I invite you to join the BLOG and post comments to share your perspective. I am sure your prose will inspire more than you realize. And, if you help only one person with an errant thoughts, you will have done a service to our profession indeed!

      • Hi, I have a serious problem, let me begin to tell my story. I recently lost my sister and two days later he youngest granddaughter passed away. (In PA) There are two other children that have been place in child services in PA and I have agreed to be their foster parents now, after 8 months of not even being granted supervision rights due to the fact that DYFS in NJ has me on their list from a case that was closed in 2007. That case was brought up simply because at that time my daughter was still in H.S. and a new vice principle (on a weekly basis) was calling me to tell me that I had to leave work come pick up my daughter and have her drug tested, after the fourth drug test came back negative I expressed that I would be filing harrassment charges against her and she called child services on me. (ultimately she lost her job for harrassing 27 other parents) I want to know how on earth could something like this occur?! I feel that DYFS in NJ should clean up their records immediate upon a case being closed and curious if I can file a law suit against them for defamation of character?!

  1. Our co-worker sue,now going to procure her LAW DEGREE, so the evisceration of one’s family at least in her case, a TRUE pioneer,in suing DYFS crooked caseworker(s)in NEW JERSEY is clear that she did NOT allow such to continue.Amazing story;and has exhibited to us law students and future attorneys; that simply by not suing in her consensus,for which i agree, as a 15 yr paralegal also preparing for the bar in cali,to nj nys,tri-state,by NOT attempting to sue,then a violation of such magnitude,by DYFS NJ and all CPS caseworker inequities,nationally shall ever really be
    completely “rid of” and we thank you for sharing your commentary with so many of us, counsel.
    Good day now.

    Farrah Wells.
    T.A.N. (take ACTION network,for the innocent suing pro-se child protection services,dyfs,dccp.acs nationally)

    • Thank you, Farrah, for your kind words. I hope that you and your classmates will follow the BLOG and continue to share your comments. Only through public comment and critique can I approve the site for New Jersey families and attorneys who help them.

  2. We sure are going to encompass to the site,was just going to “Ask you is it ok’as we have few atty mention(s)at our 1st of our kind pro-se lawsuit claim resource empowerment,network,so thank you, from staff over at sue cps. and bellaslaw.org and T.A.N.(take action network)will definitely be also saving for referral as i see your a specialist in the field of DYFS,that is great,but not suing,so that is fine i will still be able to refer,if warranted,and thank you so much for your reply.

    Farrah Wells
    15yr paralegal
    Pro-se Specialist Dept.at sue cps pro-se network,for the innocent.

  3. my kids was abused and mistreated with the father and dyfs said nothing did nothing and he was under investigation and now they believe what he says so my daughter who got malested by her step brother is scared to go back they never wanted to be involved so know i do not know what to do

    • Dear Tasha,

      I am so sorry to hear of your difficult circumstances.

      While the Division is the state child welfare agency, it is not unassailable, nor is it the sole authority over issues of child abuse and neglect. If you believe a child has been or is being abused or neglected, you can file a Protective Services action pursuant to Title 9. See, N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.34. If you file, the Division is prohibited from interfering with your application. See, N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.35.

      If you would like to pursue filing a Title 9 action, please contact Paragano & Williams, LLC at (908) 687-5999.

      Warm regards,
      Allison C. Williams

    • it’s really hard no-one wants to sue them unless a child has been molested my
      child wasn’t but being removed and going to 2 different foster homes at the age of 12 years old is traumatizing this is a horrible world we live in.

  4. Farrah Wells,for the SUE CPS PRO-SE network,for the “truly innocent” hi again counsel.and i am glad to share on your wonderful site/blog,the magistrate NOT state court,but Fed.Ct. has announced,”Mother suing state of NJ,3rd district court,from Union County,NJ has won a HUGE decision! (your able to validate as proof)and she has won such right to move forward for money damages,what a GOD-BLESS decision,a rarity as your sentient,(Aware)of counsel,for a pro-se litigant,Not even lawyers sue always cps,dcp&p,dyfs,so she is very, very happy,can’t blame her.the daughter lost her sanity,and mom almost was homeless by fighting dyfs,over 200,000+ with investigators,to lawyers,NONE who help her get this far.and or get the girls home,reunited,until YEARS after the damage severely was done,including a gang rape,and psychiatric hospitalization for years,HIDDEN by NJ Union County,Essex Cty DYFS, Judge call it shocking the conscience,and mother has a right at the time counsel to know “what really happen to her child,appeal further agreed in /”state”court”/before suit was filed,Mother has a legal constitutional right,to have child home,if no serious injuries occur to the child,and yet DYFS still lied under oath,and presented false information to support the agenda,to keep child from hard working astute loving mom.

    So the federal court is allowing suit to move forward,DYFS lost on each arguement to have it tossed out,MEDIA just announce this 50 million suit decision just weeks ago! god is good.

    proving YOUR ABLE TO SUE counsel.
    Your surely able to prevail,and sue pro-se
    and or with lawyer,DYFS,who deserve it.
    Counsel,can i again put this link,blog on our popular facebook SUE CPS in federal court
    Thank you.

  5. I will thank you and i will keep in touch! I refer one person to you yesteday whose losing such right TPR hearing and she is attempting to procure attorney,but already used us to help her place state on require notice,information etc.and we are happily referring her to you directly.
    We actually daily, have several reaching us for family matter involving a TPR hearing,i know your highly astute in such,and or custody etc.
    concerning the division thank you again!
    .
    The lawsuit was filed last year and judge in federal court ruled parent surely can move forward a week during her birthday,so nice after almost 8 years,of almost zero contact with her girls,remove premise on a light spanking,in 03,so sad but GOD IS GOOD Federal Court is looking at the case unlike state as it should and that is the constitutional;civil rights of a American Citizen,here in our great state.

    and.

    I shall return when our network biz. consultant student of law clinic,is receiving another god bless update,in regard to the damages portion;discovery etc.and thank you again.
    Good day .

  6. E outcome Through the critical years of raising my kids the states dyfs many times called by the public school has been dictating to our family. Not one case was linked toabuse, and every case was dropped. They just keep coming back though. A feel a bit of facism involved here, and it seems although I try, I cant do a thing. This is well over 8years now, and not a lawyer legislator or anyone will do anything. They have ruined the outcome of how my kids were raised. My kids dont respect us as parents and know how to play the system to an agency that is all too eager to come and investigate. They walk in your house, through all the rooms ,open the refrigerator and you cant say no. I want a class action suit aganst them if anyone who is a lawyer that has courage, and anyone who has been abused the same way. I am collecting signened and dated petitions with a brief account of your story. Leave contact corrospondance. If I get 10,000 petitions I will take them to the press.
    Send to,
    Roland S Ellingsworth
    1016 Robwii Pass
    Cherry Hill N.J. 08034

  7. I need help in fighting DYFS I’m sick and tired of DYFS destroying my Life . They have consistantly tried to make me look bad and they have failed. I was sent to Jail for spanking my son and my life has been ruined because I can’t find a job because of this . My children was taken away from their mother while I was locked up , now I’m out and I can’t get them back. I have visit’s with my children bi- weekly ,I can’t find a job that will allow me to support my family. I need help .

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