Skip to comments.N.J. Supreme Court rules state agency lacked evidence to remove teen from home
Posted on 01/27/2011 8:09:43 PM PST by Coleus
Slapping a teenager or taking money from her paycheck to pay family bills is hardly admirable, but doesnt constitute child neglect or abuse, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. In a 7-0 decision, the court found the state Division of Youth and Family Services lacked sufficient evidence to remove a teenager from her father and stepmothers home in 2008, and dropped the abuse and neglect judgement against her stepmother.
"The parental decisions made within this family unit may not have been exemplars of stellar parenting, but they did not rise to the level of Title Nine violations," wrote Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, referring to New Jerseys child abuse laws. The girl was removed from the home after her grandfather reported the parents for taking her earnings from her part-time job and "slapping her around." A DYFS worker also found the home was without heat and authorized an emergency removal.
The father told a DYFS representative that his wife had slapped his daughter once two years earlier, and that part of his daughters earnings went to the cable bill. The couple said their central heating was broken, and they were using space heaters. The family members were not named the decision. The Supreme Court found that an occasional slap, "although hardly admirable ... does not fit a common sense prohibition against excessive corporal punishment." And classifying as abuse and neglect the requirement of a working-aged child to contribute to the family finances is "simply wide of the mark," LaVecchia wrote.
The girl is no longer a minor, so the courts decision did not affect her custody. A spokesman for the state Public Defenders office, which represented the stepmother in the case, said the courts decision solidifies the definition of child neglect.
"The court properly determined that the minor difficulties that occur within a family regarding disciplining a child, heating a home and the relationship with a grandparent fall far short of neglect or abuse of a child under New Jersey law," said spokesman Tom Rosenthal in a statement. Lauren Kidd, a spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families, which oversees DYFS, declined comment, saying the department does not discuss litigation.
In its decision, the Supreme Court reprimanded DYFS. "That DYFS did not make any offer of assistance to remedy the heating problem is troubling, particularly to the extent that the deficient central heating component of the home was used as a basis for removing (her)," LaVecchia wrote. "Most of the allegations were the product of the familys tight financial situation."
Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, said DYFS "made everything worse." "There was nothing wrong in this family that some concrete help to pay the heating bill and perhaps a little counseling couldnt solve," he said. "All of that time and that money was in effect stolen from some child we may never know who really is in danger and really does need to be taken from his home."
And it's better to put a child back with their family in Newark, murder them while play fighting and then bury your cousin in the basement rather than have the children with a foster parent of a different race.
But you should never discipline your children or make them work for cable tv they watch all night, that's abuse...
They miss the real problems and overdo the wrong cases because they go by state-issued leftwing values.
It’s good to see DYFS put in their place once in a while. They’re made up of sadists who take pleasure in destroying families.
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