Most child abuse cases do not result in criminal charges. But CPS is obligated to notify law enforcement of abuse or neglect allegations under certain circumstances. When this occurs, law enforcement then submits a report to the county prosecutor who then decides whether or not to file criminal charges. The burden of proof in criminal cases is higher than in CPS family law cases. This means the county prosecutor will not file charges if there is not enough evidence to convict the alleged abuser. If there is enough evidence, however, the prosecutor could charge the alleged abuser with endangering welfare of children.
Legally defined, endangering welfare of children is when a person with a legal duty to care for a child or who has assumed responsibility to care for a child causes that child harm that meets the definition of abuse or neglect under the New Jersey child abuse statute. This law extends beyond just parents. Examples of people who have a duty to care for or assumed responsibility to care for children can also include guardians, caretakers, babysitters, daycare providers, teachers, counselors, and healthcare providers. Other acts that can be charged as endangering welfare of children include involving a minor to commit a crime and driving under the influence with a minor in the car.
The penalties the court can impose will depend on the degree of the charge (e.g. second or third), the facts and circumstances of the offense, and the history of past offenses of the defendant. Typically charged as a felony, endangering welfare of children can come with a lengthy prison sentence. Defendants can face a mandatory prison sentence if it is a second offense or in light of other aggravating factors.
Don’t face your endangering welfare of children charge alone. If you are the child’s parent, guardian, or caretaker, expect CPS involvement. When combined with criminal charges, the CPS investigation process can be overwhelming and taxing. An attorney can help you defend yourself throughout your ordeal and help you handle your case with confidence knowing all your rights are protected.
If you need child abuse defense in New Jersey, the Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help. The experienced child welfare attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC can help you clear your name. 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 email@example.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.