NJ Appellate Division Affirms Finding of Abuse and Neglect
The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division recently affirmed a trial court’s finding that two parents abused and neglected their children by failing to provide safe and adequate shelter and by leaving them unattended in the family’s van. This case arose in Middlesex County and the trial court concluded that the parents home was infested with cockroaches, mold on the ceiling, holes in the bathroom floor, exposed electrical sockets, and cigarette butts all over the floors. Then, one day, the five-year-old son drove the family’s van into a neighbor’s mailbox. The NJ appellate court agreed with the trial court’s statement that although the family struggled financially, the condition of the home was not the result of poverty but, rather, the parents’ failure to exercise a minimum degree of care in providing a safe and appropriate home for the children. The appellate court further elaborated, saying that the conditions in the home “could have been remedied with physical effort, that is, self-cleaning the home, and self-repairing the obvious hazards.”
As with many cases of child abuse and neglect in New Jersey, this case did not include any allegations of physical abuse but was focused on the environmental aspects of the family’s home. When it comes to the definition of child abuse and neglect in New Jersey, there are many different scenarios that the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”) and the courts may deem inappropriate. N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c) (4) sets forth that an abused or neglected child is 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, as herein defined, to exercise a minimum degree of care (a) in supplying the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, 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.
Due to New Jersey’s broad definition of child abuse and neglect, there are many situations in which parents, guardians, or other caretakers such as teachers or daycare employees are accused of abuse and neglect. If you are accused of child abuse or neglect in New Jersey and DCP&P is investigating your family or child protective services has already filed a complaint against you in court, it is important to have an experienced DCP&P defense lawyer on your side. In fact, an experienced NJ child abuse and neglect defense attorney at the Tormey Law Firm can not only help you deal with navigating the complexities of family court, but can also give you the confidence and strength to endure the stress of handling DCP&P. We are available 24/7 and we are ready to help you no matter what situation you are going through with child protective services in New Jersey. Contact us today.