Abuse and Neglect under Title 9 NJ
Lawyers against DYFS in Essex County, NJ
There are many different actions, or lack thereof, that could constitute either child abuse or neglect as defined in Title 9 ranging from physical abuse, sexual abuse, or improper supervision.
In New Jersey, there are many different forms of child abuse and neglect. The statutes set forth circumstances in which a child will be considered to be an “abused or neglected” child rather than deeming specific parental actions to be abusive or neglectful. In other words, there are few bright line rules that are applied to determine whether or not a child is abused or neglected and the court will consider the totality of the circumstances to determine whether or not you abused or neglected your child. Our experienced DCP&P defense lawyers have been involved in the system for many years. In fact, several of our attorneys are former prosecutors who used to prosecute Title 9 violations for the State of NJ. They now uses that experience and knowledge to protect and defend our clients facing similar allegations. If you or a loved one is involved in a DYFS case and needs help, contact our offices anytime for immediate assistance at 201-556-1570. We have multiple office locations throughout New Jersey including in Morristown, Hackensack, and Newark and our experienced attorneys will always provide you with a free initial consultation regarding your case.
Title 9: What is Child Abuse and Neglect?
FAQ: What is child abuse and neglect?
In addition to the applicable statutes, the Appellate Division and Supreme Court have analyzed countless cases and developed various analytical frameworks for the trial courts to assess whether or not a child has been abused or neglected. If the Division of Child Protection and Permanency accuses you of child abuse or neglect, you should consult with an experienced DCP&P defense attorney who is familiar with Title 9 and the relevant case law.
The threshold question is whether or not the alleged victim is a child. Currently, in New Jersey, a child is anyone under the age of eighteen. In addition, there are no fetal abuse laws in New Jersey and the abuse and neglect laws apply once a child is born. Title 9 then sets forth that a child is abused or neglected if, by other than accidental means, the child suffers serious physical injury such as death, disfigurement, or impairment; ongoing risk of physical injury of death, disfigurement or impairment; if the child’s parent or guardian commits or allows sexual abuse to occur; if the child suffers impairment or imminent danger of impairment of physical, mental or emotional condition as a result of parent’s failure to exercise minimum degree of care in supplying adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care although financially able to do so or in providing proper supervision by unreasonably inflicting or allowing to be inflicted harm or substantial risk thereof including excessive corporal punishment; abandonment; excessive physical restraint; or inappropriate institutionalization.
Despite the lengthy statutory definition of child abuse and neglect, every case is fact-sensitive and you are entitled to a review of the totality of the circumstances of your case to determine if, in fact, your child has suffered abuse or neglect. In certain situations, one egregious act may constitute abuse or neglect but, in other cases, an accumulation of many small acts could be considered abuse or neglect. In addition, there need not be harm to a child for a court to find that the child has been abused or neglected. That is, courts do not need to not wait until a child is actually harmed to protect the child from a parent when the child is in risk of harm due to the parent’s failure to exercise a minimum degree of care in providing care or supervision.
The courts have interpreted a lack of a “minimum degree of care” to be gross negligence or recklessness. N.J. Dep’t of Children & Families v. T.B., 207 N.J. 294 (2011). In other words, the standard is more than mere negligence and encompasses circumstances in which an ordinary reasonable person would understand the inherent perils of a particular situation but ignores the dangers and creates a risk of injury. Despite the courts’ efforts to provide clear guidance on what constitutes abuse and neglect, no two cases are the same and there simply is no mathematically precise method to determine whether or not a parent has failed to exercise a minimum degree of care.
Essex County NJ DCP&P Lawyers Available Now
If the Division receives a referral that you have abused or neglected your child or if DCP&P files a protective services complaint against you alleging that you abused or neglected your child, you should contact a DCP&P attorney who is fully familiar with Title 9 and the extensive, nuanced applicable case law. We are available immediately to assist you at 201-556-1570.