NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES VS. N.M. AND J.K.IN THE MATTER OF J.K, JR. AND J.K.
We reverse the trial court's finding that a mother abused or neglected her two children by bringing them to a public park to meet her former boyfriend, who followed her home and raped her in the children's presence. The former boyfriend had earlier refused to provide his address for a background check, and a caseworker advised the mother not to allow him around the children.
A prior substantiation of abuse or neglect against the mother for leaving her youngest son with the child's father who seriously injured him, did not support the court's conclusion that the mother demonstrated a history of exercising poor judgment and exposing her children to violence. The Division failed to establish that the children suffered harm as a result of defendant's actions, and her conduct was neither reckless nor grossly negligent.