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New Jersey Division of Youth & Family Services v. LV & CM

889 A.2d 1153 (2005)

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New Jersey Division of Youth & Family Services v. LV & CM

New Jersey Superior Court, Chancery Division

889 A.2d 1153 (2005)

Facts

In 2005, LV (defendant), who was HIV positive, gave birth to a baby who was exposed to HIV and suffered other health problems. The Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) (plaintiff) transferred the baby to foster care and then to a hospital. DYFS filed a petition to declare the baby an abused or neglected child on the ground that LV refused to take medications to reduce the likelihood that the baby would be HIV positive. At the fact-finding hearing, DYFS introduced LV’s nurse practitioner, who testified that she recommended a therapeutic regime to LV that is shown to reduce the likelihood that a mother who is HIV positive will pass the virus onto her baby from 28 percent to 7 percent. The nurse also testified that a baby born to a mother who is HIV positive may test positive at birth despite not contracting the virus because the baby is carrying the mother’s HIV antibodies. During the hearing, LV admitted that she learned she was HIV positive while pregnant and did not take the recommended medication because she was unwilling to accept the diagnosis.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rothstadt, J.)

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