FAILURE TO TELL DYFS A CHILD DRANK COLOGNE MAY LEAVE DOCTOR LIABLE
A published appeals court decision that an emergency room doctor must stand trial for not telling child welfare authorities that a 2-year-old ingested cologne is making heads turn. The obligation to report possible abuse or neglect to the Division of Youth and Family Services "does not require the potential reporter to possess the quantum of proof necessary for an administrative or judicial finding," the Appellate Division said in L.A. v. DYFS, A-2726-11. All that is required under the statute is a "reasonable cause to believe," the panel said, noting that a reasonable jury could blame the child's actions on reckless or negligent conduct by a parent and find the doctor breached the standard of care by failing to report it.
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FAMILY LAW — CUSTODY
20-2-4165 New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. D.P., App. Div. (Lihotz, J.A.D.) (28 pp.) We reviewed resource parents' appeal of an order denying their motion to intervene in a best-interests hearing, which considered whether to remove the 20-month-old child from the resource home, her primary home since birth, or to place her with a relative. On appeal, the resource parents assert the trial court erroneously denied intervention, disregarding their status as "indispensable parties" and their standing as the child's "psychological parents." We affirmed, concluding the right to notice of proceedings and to inform the court granted to resource parents by the Legislature in N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.19a, does not impart a legal interest or an expectation to engage experts, demand discovery, appear in the action, or cross-examine witnesses. We are convinced the limited and temporary character of foster care remains the legislative policy of this state. The trial court fully abided all statutory provisions governing a resource parent's participation in litigation involving a child entrusted to their care by the division, granting the resource parents all process they were due.
FAMILY LAW — PARENTAL RIGHTS
20-2-4652 Division of Youth and Family Services v. R.G. and J.G., App. Div. (per curiam) (37 pp.) J.G. is the biological father of T.G. ("Tara"). J.G. was incarcerated when Tara was six months old. At the time of trial, Tara was six years old and J.G remained incarcerated. At present, Tara and her half-brother K.G. (" Kyle"), who is six years older, reside with their maternal grandmother, G.B. The Division of Youth and Family Services brought an action to terminate the parental rights of J.G. and the children's mother, R.G. R.G. voluntarily surrendered her parental rights. The trial judge denied termination of J.G.'s parental rights to Tara. The Law Guardian appealed, arguing that the Division proved all four prongs necessary to terminate J.G.'s parental rights as a matter of law. While this appeal was pending, Kyle was adopted by G.B. The Division, R.G. and Kyle support the Law Guardian's position. Given that the Division proved all four prongs by clear and convincing evidence, the appellate panel reverses, terminating J.G.'s parental rights as a matter of law. Judge Harris dissents, agreeing with the Family Part's determination that the Division's evidence as insufficient to warrant termination of J.G.'s parental rights.
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