Rockaway Township Kindergartener Erroneously Placed on School Bus
A Morris County kindergartener who was supposed to be driven to and from school by her parents was reportedly placed on a school bus, dropped off at a bus stop, and then left to walk home alone. Usually, the child’s parents drive her to school in the morning, then the child attends aftercare and her parents pick her up from school. However, on September 29, 2017, the five-year-old girl was reportedly placed on a school bus and then dropped off at a bus stop. Fortunately, the child managed to find her way home and was not harmed in any way. But the child’s parents have still expressed their concern about the risks their daughter faced – she could have been abducted or hit by a car. According to school officials in Rockaway Township, NJ, there was a breakdown in communication between the school and the Rockaway Township Transportation Department. School officials further claimed that a letter sent by the child’s family requesting aftercare never made it to the appropriate destination.
On the one hand, this situation may be the result of a genuine mistake on the part of the school district and the transportation department. Often, however, bus drivers or bus aides in these situations end up being investigated by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”), due to their caretaking role during the time of the mishap. In fact, under New Jersey’s child abuse and neglect laws set forth in Title 9, there are many individuals who may fall into the broad definition of “parent or guardian.” This includes many people other than biological parents. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(a), “parent or guardian” means any natural parent, adoptive parent, resource family parent, stepparent, paramour of a parent, or any person who has assumed responsibility for the care, custody, or control of a child or upon whom there is a legal duty for such care. “Parent or guardian” also includes a teacher, an employee, or a volunteer, whether compensated or uncompensated, of an institution who is responsible for the child’s welfare and any other staff person of an institution regardless of whether the person is responsible for the care or supervision of the child.
Whether you are a biological parent, grandparent, babysitter, teacher, bus driver, or anyone else responsible for a child, DCP&P involvement in your life will be a stressful and overwhelming time. Child protective services is obligated to completely investigate every allegation of child abuse or neglect made to the hotline. Moreover, these investigations will include interviews of the alleged perpetrators and the children involved with the allegation, as well as attempts to obtain documents from daycare organizations, schools, pediatricians, and any other professional involved with the family.
The bottom line is that DYFS investigations in New Jersey can become extremely intrusive. Having someone on your side can make all the difference in turning a stressful situation into a manageable interaction with child protective services. If you are being investigated by DCP&P due to allegations of child abuse and neglect, the New Jersey DYFS defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm can help. Our experienced and knowledgeable child neglect defense attorneys are available 24/7 to help you handle any level of DCP&P involvement with you or your family. Contact us anytime.