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Mother Allegedly Had Heroin, Prescription Pills While Driving with Daughter in Haworth, NJ

Haworth NJ DYFS AttorneysA Bergen County mother was recently pulled over for allegedly speeding in Haworth, New Jersey. During the traffic stop, police reportedly found about three dozen bags of heroin, eight different types of prescription pills, and the woman’s five-year-old daughter in the car.

According to Haworth police, the suspect was pulled over at around 1:45 a.m. while driving southbound on Schraalenburgh Road in Haworth, NJ. During the course of the motor vehicle stop, police searched the vehicle and reportedly found 37 bags of heroin and 32 prescription pills. As a result, the mother was placed under arrest and charged with child endangerment and various drug possession offenses. Additionally, Haworth police contacted the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”). DCP&P officers subsequently responded to police headquarters and placed the child in the custody of her maternal grandmother.

As a result of the referral of the case to DCP&P, there will be an investigation to determine whether the mother abused or neglected her child. N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c) sets forth that an “abused or neglected child” means a child less than 18 years of age whose parent or guardian (1) inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon such child physical injury by other than accidental means which causes or creates a substantial risk of death, or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; (2) creates or allows to be created a substantial or ongoing risk of physical injury to such child by other than accidental means which would be likely to cause death or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; (3) commits or allows to be committed an act of sexual abuse against the child; (4) or a child whose physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as the result of the failure of his parent or guardian to exercise a minimum degree of care (a) in supplying the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical or surgical care though financially able to do so or though offered financial or other reasonable means to do so, or (b) in providing the child with proper supervision or guardianship, by unreasonably inflicting or allowing to be inflicted harm, or substantial risk thereof, including the infliction of excessive corporal punishment; or by any other acts of a similarly serious nature requiring the aid of the court; (5) or a child who has been willfully abandoned by his parent or guardian; (6) or a child upon whom excessive physical restraint has been used under circumstances which do not indicate that the child’s behavior is harmful to himself, others, or property; (7) or a child who is in an institution and (a) has been placed there inappropriately for a continued period of time with the knowledge that the placement has resulted or may continue to result in harm to the child’s mental or physical well-being or (b) who has been willfully isolated from ordinary social contact under circumstances which indicate emotional or social deprivation.

Clearly, the definition of child abuse and neglect in New Jersey is lengthy and detailed. However, the legal definition of child abuse neglect is also very open-ended. In other words, there are many situations in which parents are accused of abuse and neglect but end up being cleared of wrongdoing after a careful analysis of the totality of the circumstances.

If you are accused of child abuse or neglect and DCP&P is investigating your family, having an experienced DYFS defense attorney on your side can help with managing the stressful situation and with providing relevant information to the Division as part of the investigation. Or, if the investigation is already concluded and DCP&P has filed a complaint for custody or care and supervision in Family Court and you are scheduled to have a fact-finding trial, a knowledgeable DCP&P defense lawyer can assist you with defending the case in court. The bottom line is that if DCP&P is involved in your family’s life, you should call the Tormey Law Firm immediately. Our experienced New Jersey DCP&P defense attorneys are always ready to help.

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