Clinton Township Police Reportedly Find 17-Month-Old Child in Car with Beer, Heroin, and Needles

Clinton Township Child Neglect AttorneysTwo adults were recently arrested after allegedly being found with beer, heroin, and hypodermic needles in their car, along with a 17-month-old child passenger.

On February 28, 2017, Clinton Township patrol officers reportedly spotted a motor vehicle stopped on the side of Route 31. Upon approaching the vehicle, the Clinton NJ officers noticed two adults who appeared to have used drugs. The officers investigated further and allegedly found an opened 40-ounce bottle of beer, seven bags of heroin, two hypodermic needles, and a toddler in the car. As a result, police arrested the two adult occupants of the vehicle, 27-year-old Amanda Galvez and 29-year-old Timothy Huttenmeyer. Both suspects were charged with numerous crimes, including endangering the welfare of a child, possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), possession of a hypodermic needle, and possession of an open container in a motor vehicle.

Police also contacted the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”). The child was later turned over to a family member at the scene of the motor vehicle stop. Had a family member not been available to take custody of the child, DCP&P may have taken custody of the child on an emergent basis, without a court order.

Parents often ask: “Can DCP&P take my child without going to court?” The answer is “yes.” DYFS can legally remove your child without going to court in certain circumstances. Under New Jersey’s child abuse and neglect laws found in Title 9, DCP&P is permitted to exercise emergency custody of a child when the child is at immediate risk of harm, if it would be contrary to the welfare of the child to remain with the parents, and if reasonable efforts cannot prevent placement of the child in a resource home. As in this case, when a child is with two parents and they are both arrested, DCP&P would have no other option than to take custody of the child on an emergency and temporary basis if there is no immediately available family member to assume care of the child.

The fact of the matter is that anytime the Division receives a referral regarding a family, DCP&P is obligated to initiate an investigation. If, during the course of that investigation, the Division determines that the child is in immediate danger, a court order is not needed to take custody of the child. Thus, if you are being investigated by DCP&P, it is crucial to consult with an experienced DYFS defense attorney. The DCP&P defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm are always available to handle any DCP&P matter, including providing representation and advice to parents during an investigation and defending parents against allegations of child abuse and neglect. If DCP&P is involved with your family, contact the Tormey Law Firm to learn about what can be done to get DYFS out of your life for good.

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