Four-Month-Old in Trenton NJ Admitted to Hospital with Dangerously High Blood Alcohol Content
On January 12, 2017, the Trenton Police received a call stating that there was a four-month-old girl in critical condition at the hospital due to an “extremely dangerously” high blood alcohol level.
According to the police, the infant had been in the care of her mother, 24-year-old Felicia Hamilton, throughout the day. When Hamilton noticed that her child was drowsy and non-responsive, she took her to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, NJ. Although the authorities did not disclose the infant’s actual blood alcohol content (BAC), the level was reportedly so high that the child needed to be flown to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The sick kid was admitted to the Philly hospital in critical condition.
Accordingly, Hamilton has been charged with child endangerment and the matter continues to be investigated by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office and the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”).
Although the information does not indicate whether DCP&P has accused the mother of child abuse pursuant to Title 9, that outcome would seem likely considering the circumstances. However, the Division will still take the steps to fully investigate the matter and determine what happened on the day of January 12, 2017, as well as the circumstances that resulted in the infant having alcohol in her system. Ultimately, the Division will need to determine whether the mother failed to exercise a minimum degree of care in providing the infant with proper supervision and whether that failure resulted in a risk of harm to the child.
Additionally, if the Division substantiates that Hamilton committed child abuse and subsequently takes custody of the infant, the family court in Mercer County will eventually have a fact-finding hearing to determine whether to uphold the Division’s substantiation of child abuse against the mother. A fact-finding is a trial that involves the presentation of documents and witnesses by DCP&P to prove that a parent abused or neglected their child. During a fact-finding, a Deputy Attorney General represents the Division, a Law Guardian represents the child, and the parents are appointed a public defender if they cannot afford a private attorney.
If DCP&P is currently involved in your life and you have been accused of child abuse or neglect, contact the experienced DCP&P defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm to learn more about DCP&P investigations, what it means to be substantiated for child abuse, what happens during a fact-finding trial, and how an experienced DYFS defense attorney can help you with your case.