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DYFS Dilemma – When Is Spanking Not Spanking [POLL]

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A 4 year old kid shows up at a preschool in Vineland with bruises and welts on her body and face, which prompted a call to DYFS.

Now here’s where you’re thinking, “…oh boy, will DYFS screw this one up too?”

More and more stories come up where DYFS either doesn’t do enough to avert more situations like this, or they overreact and do too much.

Detective Bruce Cornish said the county prosecutor’s office called Millville police on Thursday, Feb. 23, after DYFS informed them that the school nurse and director at the ABC Learning Center in Vineland saw numerous welts, bruises and red marks on the 4-year-old girl’s body and face.

Cornish and Detective Harvey Calixto of the prosecutor’s office investigated and discovered the child’s mother had beaten her with a belt.

The child’s mother was subsequently arrested and charged with fourth-degree child abuse, who was then released on her own recognizance.

Since the detective handling the case wasn’t available to answer whether or not the child was
returned to the mother; we then wonder what the DYFS protocol is.

A local law enforcement source says that removal of children is decided on a case by case basis, adding that the final determination has to be made by DYFS.

Child abuse charges cover a wide range of behaviors in New Jersey, including “. . . inflicting upon a child unnecessary suffering or pain, either mental or physical.”

Child abuse crimes range from fourth to second-degree.

If convicted of a second-degree crime, the typical minimum sentence is five years in prison.

Depending upon the charge, DYFS has many options as to what to do with the child.

One also has to consider that depending upon the child victim’s age, different standards could apply in different cases. (Like whether or not this was a teen, etc.)

So again: a 4 year old child beaten with a belt by her mother, and is left with welts upon arriving at preschool.

You’re the DYFS caseworker, do you recommend taking the child out of the household, or do you give the mother the benefit of the doubt?

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