Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - New Jersey

Date:

Physical Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.21

'Abused child' or 'abused or neglected child' means a child under age 18 whose parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control does any of the following:

  • Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon such child physical injury by other than accidental means that causes or creates a substantial risk of death, serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of physical or emotional health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ
  • Creates or allows to be created a substantial or ongoing risk of physical injury to such child by other than accidental means that would be likely to cause death or serious or protracted disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ
  • Inflicts unreasonably or allows to be inflicted harm or substantial risk thereof, including the infliction of excessive corporal punishment or by any other acts of a similarly serious nature requiring the aid of the court
  • Uses excessive physical restraint upon the child under circumstances that do not indicate that the child's behavior is harmful to himself or herself, others, or property

Neglect

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.21

'Abused child' or 'abused or neglected child' means a child younger than age 18 whose physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as the result of the failure of his parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control, to exercise a minimum degree of care, including the failure to do the following:

  • To supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical, or surgical care, although financially able to do so or although offered financial or other reasonable means to do so
  • To provide the child with proper supervision or guardianship

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.21

The terms 'abused child' or 'abused or neglected child' include a child under age 18 whose parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control commits or allows to be committed an act of sexual abuse against the child.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.21

The terms 'abused child' or 'abused or neglected child' include a child under age 18 who is in an institution and either of the following applies:

  • Has been placed there inappropriately for a continued period of time with the knowledge that the placement has resulted or may continue to result in harm to the child's mental or physical well-being
  • Who has been willfully isolated from ordinary social contact under circumstances that indicate emotional or social deprivation

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.21

The terms 'abused child' or 'abused or neglected child' include a child under age 18 who has been willfully abandoned by their parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.10

A report is required when any person has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.21

'Parent or guardian' means any natural parent, adoptive parent, resource family parent, stepparent, paramour of a parent, or any person who has assumed responsibility for the care, custody, or control of a child or upon whom there is a legal duty for such care.

Parent or guardian includes a teacher, employee, or volunteer, whether compensated or uncompensated, of an institution who is responsible for the child's welfare and any other staff person of an institution, regardless of whether the person is responsible for the care or supervision of the child. Parent or guardian also includes a teaching staff member or other employee, whether compensated or uncompensated, of a day school.

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:6-8.21

No child who in good faith is under treatment by spiritual means alone through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for this reason alone, be considered abused or neglected.