NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF CHILD P IN THE MATTER OF N.A.T. AND J.V.ROTECTION AND PERMANENCY VS. N.T. AND A.K. AND J.A.V.
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency obtained a finding of abuse or neglect based primarily on hearsay evidence in a Division report and a Division consultant's psychological evaluation. The Appellate Division holds that, to be admissible as a business record of the Division, a Division report must meet the requirements of N.J.R.E. 803(c)(6), whether the report is offered under N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.46(a)(3), Rule 5:12-4(d), or In re Guardianship of Cope, 106 N.J. Super. 336 (App. Div. 1969). If a Division report is admissible under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(6) and meets the requirements of N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.46(a)(3), Rule 5:12-4(d), or Cope, the court may consider the statements in the report that were made to the author by Division staff personnel, or affiliated medical, psychiatric, or psychological consultants, if those statements were made based on their own first-hand factual observations, at a time reasonably contemporaneous to the facts they relate, and in the usual course of their duties with the Division. However, whether the Division report is offered under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(6), N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.46(a)(3), Rule 5:12-4(d), or Cope, statements in the report made by any other person are inadmissible hearsay, unless
they qualify under another hearsay exception as required by N.J.R.E. 805. Expert diagnoses and opinions in a Division report are inadmissible hearsay, unless the trial court specifically finds they are trustworthy under the criteria in N.J.R.E. 808, including that they are not too complex for admission without the expert testifying subject to cross-examination.
In judging the sufficiency of the evidence, a reviewing court must consider all the evidence admitted by the trial court.