NJ Court Finds Father Perpetrated Abuse Due to Drug Use, Sexual Behavior, and Unsupervised Visits
The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division affirmed a trial court’s finding that a father abused and neglected his children during multiple instances in inappropriate supervision. According to court records, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”), alleged that the father put his children at risk of harm on two occasions. The DCP&P investigation resulted in a finding of abuse and neglect due to a totality of the circumstances. On one occasion, the man was drinking alcohol and ingesting cocaine and Xanax while he was supposed to be caring for his children, who were one year old and six years old, respectively. The man then passed out while masturbating with a tie around his neck. On another occasion, the father violated a court order that required supervised contact with his children. (The court order also required the man to engage in counseling.) However, the man violated the order and took the six-year-old child for a motorcycle ride. The children’s mother was also found to have abused and neglected the kids by permitting the father to have unsupervised contact with them.
As with many cases of child abuse and neglect in New Jersey, this case did not include any allegations of egregious physical abuse; rather, the case involved a parent’s inability to provide safe and appropriate care for his or her children. The definition of child abuse and neglect in New Jersey is very broad and is largely on whether the totality of the circumstances indicates that a child has been harmed or is at a substantial risk of harm. Specifically, 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, or 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.
Because of New Jersey’s broad definition of child abuse and neglect, there are many allegations of child abuse and neglect against parents, guardians, or other caretakers such as teachers or daycare employee. When families are involved with DCP&P in New Jersey due to accusations of child abuse against parents, the court system may also become involved. This can lead to months or even years of protracted and complex litigation in family court. Thus, if you are accused of child abuse or neglect in New Jersey and DYFS is investigating your family or DCP&P has already filed a complaint against you in court, it is important to have an experienced DCP&P defense lawyer on your side. An experienced child abuse and neglect defense attorney at the Tormey Law Firm can not only help you deal with navigating the nuances of family court, but they can also give you the confidence needed to manage a DCP&P intrusion into your family’s life. We are available 24/7 and are ready to help you no matter what situation you are going through with child protective services in New Jersey. Contact us today.