Child Abuse and Employment Disqualification in NJ
How a Child Abuse Conviction Can Affect Your Employment in New Jersey
If you are charged with and convicted of child abuse or related charges, it can affect your employment for years to come in New Jersey. Family law related accusations (which are civil, rather than criminal matters) can also sometimes have an impact on your employment, but these two types of allegations are often seen together. Below you will find some need-to-know information about child abuse convictions and New Jersey employment, as well as key distinctions between simply being accused of abuse in a divorce or family law matter, and actually being charged with child abuse or investigated by DCPP.
Can Employers See Child Abuse Cases in NJ?
If an abuse or neglect allegation surfaces, DCP&P must investigate within 24 hours. Once children are removed, there is a potential for a child abuse criminal charge—not just in the family law context—in the New Jersey Superior Court. Child abuse cases with DCPP and child abuse criminal charges and convictions are two entirely different legal matters, although they may occur in unison in connection with the same person and allegations. Criminal charges entail penalties such as potential prison time, fines, and a criminal record. When a criminal charge involves child abuse, it can also have a significant impact on some employment opportunities in New Jersey.
The State of New Jersey keeps a Child Abuse Registry, which includes a record of those who have been found to have committed child abuse or neglect. This registry is maintained by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), which was formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). Only founded charges will result in being listed on the registry; unfounded or dismissed complaints are not retained.
Professions that involve children will usually require a background check. That check will not only check criminal records, but it will check the Child Abuse Registry as well.
Can I Have a Job at a School if Convicted of Child Abuse in NJ?
If you have a job in a school or would like to become a teacher, a conviction for child abuse can disqualify you from this type of employment. Other forms of abuse, such as molestation or sexual offenses, are also included under this general rule. Reckless endangerment, technically called “endangering the welfare of a child,” will also disqualify an educator from employment. New Jersey law also requires that schools be notified immediately if their employees have been convicted of any offense that would disqualify them from employment.
Any employee of the school can be disqualified for a child abuse conviction. This includes employees such as cafeteria workers, para-educators, teachers, substitutes, bus drivers, and anyone else that may have contact with children. Even school volunteers need to have a criminal background check, per a law enacted in 2007. Notably, these laws apply regardless of whether you are employed in a public or private school in New Jersey.
Can I Work in Childcare with Child Abuse Charges in New Jersey?
Daycare and other child support centers are required by New Jersey law to have a Certificate of Life/Safety Approval. As part of this process, all staff members over the age of 18 or who will be working on a regular basis must complete a background check similar to those required in the educational setting. New employees must also go through the background check within two weeks of the date that they start working.
Daycare and other childcare workers are subject to many of the same disqualifying factors that apply to educators. In other words, if you are convicted of child abuse or neglect or another crime involving a child, you are prohibited from working in a daycare or similar facility in New Jersey.
Am I Allowed to be a Nurse if Convicted of a Family Offense in NJ?
You can also be disqualified from being a nurse by the New Jersey Board of Nursing if you have committed a crime against the family, including child abuse or neglect. The requirements for maintaining employment as a nurse are extensive; you can read more about New Jersey Boards of Nursing Laws and Requirements for additional information about licensing regulations.
Can I Avoid Child Abuse Effects on My Employment in New Jersey?
A child abuse charge or investigation can have much broader consequences than you may think. You need a strong defense for these types of accusations, whether it leads to an investigation by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency or a criminal charge. The consequences of a negative outcome are simply too much to risk. An experienced New Jersey child abuse defense lawyer at our firm can help. Learn more by calling our team today at (908)-356-6900 for a free consultation.