By: Family Attorney Allison Williams
SHORT HILLS, NJ, June 25, 2020 /Neptune100/ — NJ Supreme Court reverses and remands Superior Court findings in a child abuse case, requiring the DCFS to reexamine findings of the case and revise investigation procedures.
On May 27, 2020, the New Jersey Supreme Court returned a decision in the case S.C. v. New Jersey Department of Children and Families. In this case, a mother (referred to as S.C.), was accused of abusing her child through the use of corporal punishment. The findings of DCFS were that the claim of abuse was “not established” meaning that no abuse as defined by the state was found, however, there was concern that the child was at risk of harm. The investigation included interviews with the other siblings, the parents, and the principal of the childrens’ school.
The State Supreme Court reversed and remanded the findings of the New Jersey Superior Appellate Division, stating that the “not established” DCFS due process procedures must be revised. Specifically, DCFS now must provide the parents or guardians with a written record of their findings with the reasoning behind those findings, as well as give parents or guardians the opportunity to rebut the claim and submit to the record. The Supreme Court also changed the standard of proof required by DCFS during these investigations and outlined guidance on the rights that should be given to those involved in these cases.
The case was argued by Williams Law Group attorney Victoria D. Miranda. Previously, a finding of “not established” would remain on the record, unable to be expunged. This decision made by the State Supreme Court could create change that affects many DCFS cases involving a “not established” finding.
The Williams Law Group is a family law firm. We have the skillset and the experience which permits us to handle a wide variety of matrimonial and family disputes. Our attorneys have extensive education and training in these types of legal issues. We make a point to continue our education, staying current with new legislation and industry developments which could have bearing on your legal challenges.