By our leave, the Division of Child Placement and Permanency (the Division) appeals from an order that required the return of a child to the home of his "maternal grandmother as a paid resource parent." We reversed that part of the order that required the Division to recognize the grandmother as a "paid resource parent," concluding that the Legislature has reserved issues as to licensure of a resource parent to the Division, in the reasonable, non- arbitrary exercise of its discretion.
However, we also concluded that the Division failed to provide notice to the judge of its removal of the child, something it was required to do beforehand by its own regulations. We further concluded that the judge, not the Division, had the authority to place the child based upon a determination of the child's best interests, even if the placement was with a relative who either did not qualify for a license or did not seek one.
We nevertheless reversed the order and remanded the matter for further proceedings because the judge failed to appreciate all the statutory criteria that should guide his consideration of the Division's opposition to a particular placement. We also clarified that under N.J.S.A. 30:4C- 26.8(d)(9), the disqualification of a license to a resource home based upon a "conviction" for "domestic violence" means the entry of a final restraining order under the PDVA, even though those proceedings are civil in nature. 03/20/14