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Minimum Degree of Care for a Minor by a Parent in NJ

Minimum Degree of Care for a Minor by a Parent in NJ

In a recent case, the New Jersey Appellate Court held that a parent appearing or being under the influence while children are in their care does not necessarily rise to the level that the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP, formerly known as DYFS)needs to become involved under N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c)(4). The question that must be answered is whether the intoxication of the parent rose to a level that the parent failed to provide a minimum degree of care, when no actual harm has befallen the child, but instead only a risk of harm has been proven. The answer to this question must be viewed on a case by case basis taking into account the dangers and risks associated with the specific facts of the case. The parent’s inebriation must directly cause their inability to care for their children. Justice Long held that “where a parent or guardian acts in a grossly negligent or reckless manner, that deviation from the standard of care may support an inference that the child is subject to future danger. To the contrary, where a parent is merely negligent there is no warrant to infer that the child will be at future risk.” The DCPP must prove that the parent’s condition was produced by a grossly negligent or reckless act that placed the child in imminent danger or substantial risk of harm. For more information on Division of Child Protection and Permanency, child support, spousal support, palimony, alimony, divorce, dissolution of civil union or domestic partnership or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. Post contributed by Doreen L. Neggia This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter.

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