Sunday, March 25, 2018
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES VS. R.R. A-1236-16T1
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES VS. R.R.
The panel reversed the Division of Child Protection and Permanency's administrative finding that an allegation a father abused or neglected his young daughter was "not established" rather than "unfounded." N.J.A.C. 3A:10-7.3(c)(3), (4). The finding meant there was some, but not a preponderance of evidence, he harmed her or "placed [her] at risk of harm." The Division's finding was unreasonable because its investigation was incomplete. The Division did not consider evidence related to an order to show cause the father's estranged wife filed in their pending divorce, or a video she took of the incident. A matrimonial judge ordered the Division to investigate both parents, but it only investigated the father. The Division's finding also lacked sufficient support in the record the Division did compile. The father tried to stop his daughter from throwing things during a tantrum by holding her arms. She broke free and fell, but suffered no injury. That evidence did not show that he placed her at risk of harm.