What Constitutes Abuse Or Neglect Under New Jersey Law?

The New Jersey S.A. 9:6-8.9 catalogues broad characteristics (including both intentional acts and omissions) that legally constitute abuse or neglect. These include:

  1. A parent physical hurts a child or allows someone to hurt the child;
  2. A parent creates or allows conditions that put a child at risk of physical injury;
  3. A parent subjects a child to sexual abuse or puts the child in a situation in which he or she can be sexually abused;
  4. A parent abandons a child on purpose;
  5. A parent isolates a child inappropriately from social contact to the point that this isolation damages the child socially or emotionally;
  6. A parent institutionalizes a child inappropriately;

In addition, N.J.S.A 9:6-8.21(c) has a very broad, “catchall” definition for neglect. For instance, if you fail to provide your child with enough food, education, medical care, or clothing — or if you inflict excessive corporal punishment (hitting your child) — DCP&P can use that behavior as a basis to take your child away and otherwise punish you.

New Jersey’s Administrative Code sets forth a vast laundry list of acts that the state could consider to be abuse or neglect. For instance:

  • A child dies;
  • A child gets subjected to traumatic head injury, internal injuries, burns, fractures, welts, bruises, bites, sprains, or exposure to poisons or toxins;
  • A child ingests, smokes or injects harmful medicines, narcotics, or over the counter medications;
  • A child experiences emotional or mental impairment due to a parent’s action or inaction;
  • A child experiences torture, sexually exploitation, molestation or risk of sexual injury;
  • A child has been kept in confinement or inappropriately restrained physically;
  • A child does not have adequate supervision;
  • A child has been abandoned or disserted;
  • A child does not get proper food, clothing, or shelter;
  • Even “educational neglect” can be grounds for DCP&P to take action against you.

The general point here is that the legal definition of abuse or neglect is broad. This means that even relatively minor offenses can lead to your inclusion in the Child Abuse Central Registry.

For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.

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