Legal Standards

Child Abuse in New Jersey may soon be redefined

On March 11, 2013, the New Jersey Law Revision Commission issued its draft report and recommendations for changes to the two statutes in New Jersey that govern the law of child abuse and neglect – namely, Title 9 and Title 30. The public comment period is nearing conclusion. For anyone who is interested in this area of law, it is vital that you review the Commission’s draft report....

Read More

The Importance of Appealing a DYFS/DCPP Substantiation of Abuse/Neglect

If the Division of Child Protection and Permanency substantiates an allegation of child abuse or neglect, the perpetrator’s name is listed on the Child Abuse Central Registry. N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.11. This is a confidential list that is maintained by the Department of Children and Families. Only a limited number of agencies have a statutory right to access the Registry, including licensed...

Read More

What is a Dodd Removal?

When DCPP, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly, DYFS, the Division of Youth and Family Services) investigates an allegation of child abuse or neglect, and uncovers what it believes to be “imminent risk of harm”, the Division may remove the children from the home immediately without a court order. N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.28. This removal is referred to as a...

Read More

DCPP Court: Desperately Seeking Logic

In the world of child protection, judges are often inclined to “err on the side of caution” when faced with requests for parenting time. Almost universally, parents are required to be supervised when the litigation commences. As the case proceeds, that supervision is often lessened to the point of allowing unsupervised time leading into reunification. But how often do we truly...

Read More

DCPP Segway into Custody Litigation

In New Jersey, as in most jurisdictions, the court must consider whether or not a child would be subjected to abuse or neglect in the care of any parent seeking legal and physical custody of the child. Consequently, the outcome of an abuse or neglect case brought by DCPP can be very significant for custody litigation. When a parent has been found by the agency or a court to have abused or...

Read More

A Father Wrongfully Accused of Rape on the Katie Couric Show

Thomas Kennedy, a father wrongfully accused of raping his daughter, tells his tragic tale on the Katie Couric Show. Thomas, a recovering alcoholic, neglected time with his daughters before he became sober. Unfortunately, post-divorce, his daughter was seeking attention, calling out for help, and this was her plea. Because Thomas is a recovering alcoholic, Katie Couric asked the question if there...

Read More

Spanking + Accidental Injury = Child Abuse

When parents ask, “Is it ‘child abuse’ to spank my child”, the answer on paper is no. New Jersey prohibits “excessive” corporal punishment, thereby clearly permitting corporal punishment that is not excessive. See, N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c); N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. K.A., 413 N.J. Super. 504, 510-11 (App. Div. 2010). However, the Appellate...

Read More

Mandatory Reporting of Child Neglect may Open the Floodgates

A medical malpractice case published on November 16, 2012, provides us with a new standard – and clear requirements – for reporting child abuse and neglect. In L.A. v. New Jersey Div. of Youth and Fam. Svcs, Jersey Shore Medical Center, Dr. Yu, et. al. , the Appellate Division interpreted the mandatory reporting provisions of Title 9, specifically N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10, which provides:...

Read More