In a controversial ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court said that state authorities may get custody of a child even if there is no actual evidence of child abuse or neglect.
The ruling stems from an incident in 2007, when a woman with 9-year-old twin girls asked New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency for help.
The mom claimed that she was unable to care for the children, whom she claimed had psychological and developmental disabilities.
New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency had received reports of sexual abuse of the children, but none were proven. The mom told the social workers that the girls needed residential care that she could not afford.
The New Jersey Supreme Court admitted there was no proven neglect or abuse by the mother, but gave custody of the children to the state under New Jersey’s abuse and neglect law.
After the girls got help for their problems, one girl was returned to the mother, but the other was given to her dad.
While it may sound like a semi-happy ending, Diana Autin, executive director of Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of New Jersey, claims that the state can now get custody of a child if it proves that the parent can’t provide the special services the child needs.
Autin added that New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency can also get custody without using the state’s abuse and neglect law.
“By seeking help, [the mom] lost custody of one of her children [to the dad],” said Autin.
Source: CBS Philadelphia