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New Jersey Division of child Protection and Permanency v. K.N.S.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

July 17, 2015

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
K.N.S., Defendant-Appellant. IN THE MATTER OF E.J.S., a minor

Submitted May 20, 2015

Approved for Publication July 17, 2015.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Camden County, Docket No. FN-04-423-13.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant ( Jennifer L. Gottschalk, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent ( Melissa H. Raksa, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Reid Adler, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, Law Guardian, attorney for minor ( Caitlin A. McLaughlin, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Before Judges FUENTES, ASHRAFI, and KENNEDY. The opinion of the court was delivered by ASHRAFI, J.A.D.

OPINION

Page 236

[441 N.J.Super. 394] ASHRAFI, J.A.D.

This is an appeal from an order finding abuse or neglect of a seven-month-old boy who was severely injured by the boyfriend of defendant-mother K.N.S. The issue is whether defendant-mother neglected the child by allowing the boyfriend to be his babysitter for several hours while she worked. We conclude there was sufficient evidence for the trial court's finding of neglect, and so, we affirm.

I.

Defendant gave birth to the child when she was nineteen years old. The biological father, who was eighteen, initially did not acknowledge paternity, and he is not involved in this case. A few months after the child was born, defendant began living with a man who was nine years older than she was. Defendant knew the man had been convicted of a drug offense. She did not know he had also been convicted of a sexual offense against a very young child.

[441 N.J.Super. 395] The boyfriend was unemployed. Defendant had a job at a McDonald's restaurant near her apartment. The child had been enrolled in a daycare program until November 16, 2012, when he was diagnosed with croup. Following the illness, defendant did not have medical clearance for him to return and also lacked convenient transportation to take the child to daycare. For a period of about three weeks, defendant left the child in the boyfriend's care when she worked.

Shortly before Thanksgiving in 2012, the boyfriend left the child alone in the bathtub, and the child fell and hurt his head. When defendant came home from work, she saw that the child had a large bump on his head.

On December 9, 2012, defendant came home from her job during a break and saw that the boyfriend was bathing the child, but the child was blue and shivering. He was very cold to the touch. For about twenty minutes, she tried to heat the child's body by holding him near a heater. Defendant called a friend for advice and then decided to take the child to a hospital emergency room, but she first walked back to the McDonald's to tell the manager she would have ...


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