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Sunday, January 25, 2015

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES VS. S.H. AND M.H., IN THE MATTER OF S.H. A-0080-13T3

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES VS.
          S.H. AND M.H., IN THE MATTER OF S.H.
A-0080-13T3
After her son directed an expletive at her, defendant mother threw shoes at him, hit him with her hands, struck him in the legs with a golf club, and bit him three times on the shoulder. After a fact-finding hearing, the trial court determined that the mother did not abuse or neglect the child because his use of profanity provoked her and her actions were justified.
The child was diagnosed with ADHD and was enrolled as a special education student in his high school's behavior disability program. The judge relied on our decision in New Jersey Division of Youth & Family Services v. K.A., 413 N.J. Super. 504, 511 (App. Div. 2010), certif. dismissed, 208 N.J. 355 (2011), noting that the child was "out of control" and presenting challenges to his parents.
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We distinguished K.A. based on the severity of the child's injuries, the mother's use of instrumentalities in inflicting those injuries, and the unreasonable and disproportionate nature of the response. We also noted our view that K.A. should not be read to suggest that the test for determining excessive corporal punishment should be any different when the child has a disability.
We reversed and remanded for the entry of an order finding that the mother abused or neglected the child.