Jersey City Parents Accused of Severely Beating Three-Month-Old Child
A Jersey City mother and father were recently charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child after hospital staff discovered multiple broken bones and extensive bruising on their child’s body. According to the criminal complaint, the parents were the child’s sole caretakers before bringing him to the hospital for a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia. That x-ray resulted in the discovery of multiple rib fractures. Then, the boy was evaluated at the Audrey Hepburn Children’s House in Hackensack, NJ, where doctors found signs of multiple rib fractures, a collarbone fracture, possible left leg fracture, and a right arm fracture. Authorities later learned that treating doctors believed the injuries were not caused accidentally. The parents, who reside in Jersey City in Hudson County, NJ, were subsequently arrested. The available information did not indicate the child’s current whereabouts, but authorities have stated that the criminal court restricted the parents’ contact with the child.
Considering the circumstances, it is likely that the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”), intervened and took custody of the child. In order for the Division to take custody of a child in an emergency situation without a court order, DCP&P must determine that the child is at risk of harm and that the parents pose an immediate danger to the child. Sometimes, that determination is an easy one; however, other cases are not so clear-cut. In any event, when DCP&P takes custody of a child without a court order, the case must be heard in the New Jersey Superior Court, Family Part within two days of the removal so that a family court judge can determine whether there is a prima facie basis for the Division to take custody of the child. At that hearing, DCP&P will file a Verified Complaint for Custody and an Order to Show Cause for Custody. The court will have to determine whether the child remaining in the parents’ custody would be contrary to the welfare of the child and whether there are any reasonable efforts that could be implemented to prevent the state from taking custody.
During an Order to Show Cause hearing, the Division’s case will be presented to the court by a Deputy Attorney General, while the child’s interests will be represented by a Law Guardian appointed by the Public Defender’s Office. Additionally, parents are entitled to an attorney during all child protective services litigation, including the initial hearing of the Order to Show Cause. If the parents cannot afford private representation, the court will appoint an attorney from the Public Defender’s Office of Parental Representation.
The bottom line is that any time DCP&P files a complaint in court, the stakes are high. Additionally, attorneys will be involved to represent the Division and the children. This is why the parents should have an attorney on their side, too. That’s where the Tormey Law Firm comes in: our experienced team of DCP&P defense lawyers is available 24/7 to fight for parents who are accused of abuse or neglect and who need someone on their side in the courtroom. Contact us anytime.