3-Month-Old Baby and Bags of Marijuana Found in Crib in Mansfield, NJ
The Mansfield Township Police recently responded to a family’s apartment and found a three-month-old infant alone in a crib, along with several bags of marijuana.
Upon arriving at the home, police reportedly found the alleged female victim fleeing from the apartment through a window. At the same time, police officers reportedly saw the victim’s boyfriend speed away from the apartment complex in his car. However, the two adults left a three-month-old baby in the apartment. When police took a closer look at the infant, they also allegedly found several bags of marijuana in the baby’s crib.
According to the adult female, her boyfriend slapped her, threw a drink at her, grabbed her by the neck, and then slammed her into the bathroom mirror. The boyfriend was later arrested and charged with simple assault, harassment, simple possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and reckless driving. Additionally, Mansfield NJ police notified the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”).
This case demonstrates the dangerous consequences of domestic violence and drug use, especially when there is a young child in the mix. Although there is no information about the roles of the two adults in the incident, nor any information about how the marijuana ended up in the baby’s crib, the simple facts are troubling because a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) was literally within reach of a three-month-old infant. Moreover, the fact that upon the arrival of the police both adults allegedly left the child alone indicates that their priority was not to ensure the child’s care and wellbeing. At the end of the day, there are many questions that will need to be answered regarding the totality of the circumstances and DCP&P will need to conduct a further investigation to determine if there was, in fact, child abuse or neglect.
When DCP&P receives a referral from anyone, whether it be the police, a child’s school, a child’s pediatrician, or a concerned neighbor, the Division is legally obligated to investigate the allegation. Typically, DYFS investigations entail interviewing the children, the parents, and any other witnesses or involved parties. Additionally, DCP&P may seek to obtain pediatric records and educational documents to determine the child’s medical and educational wellbeing. In this particular case, the Division obviously cannot interview a three-month-old child. However, the pediatric records should indicate whether the child has been seen regularly by doctors. The bottom line is that any time DCP&P conducts an investigation into a family, there are many possible methods the Division may use to get the information it needs to assess the situation and determine if a child has been abused or neglected.
To learn more about what constitutes child abuse or neglect in New Jersey, the specifics of DCP&P investigations, and what to do if DCP&P is investigating your family, contact the DCP&P defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm.