Mother Allegedly Beats Child with Extension Cord in Trenton, NJ
A New Jersey mother was recently arrested and charged with child endangerment after she allegedly beat her child with an extension cord. According to the Trenton Police Department, the 10-year-old child victim sustained contusions and was treated and discharged from St. Francis Hospital. As a result of the allegations of abuse, the woman was charged with the unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and endangering the welfare of a child. Additionally, the authorities contacted the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”).
The available information does not indicate whether DCP&P took custody of the child; however, considering the circumstances, it is highly likely that DYFS removed the child from the mother’s care without a court order. In order for the Division to take custody of a child without a court order in an emergency situation, DCP&P must determine that the child is at a risk of harm and that the parent or guardian poses an immediate danger to the child. If DYFS 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 for the judge to determine whether there is a prima facie basis for the Division to have custody of the child. At that hearing, the Division will file a Verified Complaint for Custody and an Order to Show Cause for Custody or Care and Supervision and the court will have to determine whether the child’s continuation in the parents’ custody would be contrary to the welfare of the child and whether there are any reasonable efforts that could have been utilized to prevent the State from taking custody.
During an Order to Show Cause hearing, the DCP&P’s case will be presented to the court by a Deputy Attorney General and 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 parents cannot afford private representation, the court will appoint an attorney from the Public Defender’s Office of Parental Representation.
When DCP&P files a complaint in court, the stakes are very high. Keep in mind that attorneys will represent the Division and the children. Thus, parents should have an attorney on their side, too. That’s where the Tormey Law Firm can help: our experienced team of New Jersey DYFS defense lawyers is always available to fight for parents who are accused of abuse or neglect and who need someone on their side in the courtroom. Don’t hesitate to contact the Tormey Law Firm if you are currently dealing with child protective services in New Jersey.