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New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. P.W.R.

Supreme Court of New Jersey
11 A.3d 844 (2011)


Pam (defendant) was the out-of-work mother of a 16-year-old daughter, Alice. The family was experiencing financial hardship, and Alice was pregnant and had been visiting Planned Parenthood. The New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) (plaintiff) investigated Pam to determine whether Alice's living conditions required the state's intervention. A New Jersey statute defined an abused or neglected child as one who has experienced excessive corporal punishment. At trial, Pam admitted that, at times, in order to punish Alice she would slap her. There was also evidence presented regarding an issue with the central heat in the home, which led Pam to use space heaters. In addition, Alice had not been taken to the pediatrician in two years, and Pam used a portion of Alice's paychecks to pay bills. Following trial, the court found that Pam physically abused and neglected Alice. Pam appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (LaVecchia, J.)

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