Evidence of Neglect: What Proof do They Need?

Before the DCPP, New Jersey’s CPS agency can make an established or substantiated finding in a child welfare investigation, it must collect and evaluate evidence. So, in child neglect cases that often revolve around a parent’s failure to act, what serves as evidence? And how can someone prove you neglected your child? Answering these questions takes first defining child neglect under New Jersey statute.

What Is Neglect?

Neglect can include any of the following acts if done by someone with custody or control of the child in question:

Willfully failing to provide proper and sufficient food, clothing, maintenance, regular school education as required by law, medical attendance or surgical treatment, and a clean and proper home, or

The failure to do or permit to be done any act necessary for the child’s physical or moral wellbeing. This includes continued inappropriate placement of a child in an institution with the knowledge that the placement has resulted and may continue to result in harm to the child’s mental or physical wellbeing.

Evidence of Neglect

The findings of an investigation are influenced by:

  • Direct observations of the child, parent and home
  • Statements from the parent and alleged perpetration that are consistent
  • Statements from the child
  • Corroboration of injuries and probable cause of injuries using medical records
  • Behavioral indicators of parent and child
  • Diagnosis of a parent’s substance abuse disorder or mental health status, and
  • Statements obtained from other parties who have knowledge relevant to the allegations

A case investigator may also have photographs, public records, and records from the child’s school to offer as evidence of neglect. Keep in mind that the burden of proof for child welfare proceedings is by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a less rigorous standard than the one utilized in criminal courts. Specifically, a preponderance of the evidence means that more than 50% of the evidence points at something as being true.

An Attorney Can Help You Challenge Evidence

No matter the evidence against you, it’s essential to speak with a New Jersey child neglect defense attorney about your case. Substantiated findings of neglect are serious, as your name will be added to the CARI (Child Abuse Record Information) database. This can affect your job prospects and your ability to foster or adopt children in the future. An attorney can explain how the evidence of neglect in your case could be used and help you take steps to challenge it and defend your rights.

If you are facing allegations of child neglect, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced child neglect defense attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you navigate your child neglect case fearlessly. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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