Child Protection Records

New Jersey child abuse lawyers advise clients on the wording of New Jersey’s child protection laws.In a per curiam decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court addressed the confidentiality of Child Protection Records and encouraged the Legislature to amend the law to provide more clarity. Under the recent case of State v. Young (A-61-16, decided May 24, 2018), Mr. Young was a local politician who came to learn that one of his rivals was being investigated for child abuse. The State alleged that Mr. Young took that information and disseminated it publically to cause political harm to his rival, in violation of N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10b. That statute mandates that all child abuse records must be kept confidential and that anyone who wrongly disseminates such information can be held criminally liable. Mr. Young was criminally convicted at the trial level, but both the Appellate Division and The New Jersey Supreme Court were constrained to reverse the conviction because the plain language of the statute was ambiguous, meaning that it was unclear to whom such confidentiality applied. But, in reversing the conviction, the Court also warned, “Our holding [ ] should not be viewed to minimize the gravity of the actions that led to defendant’s conviction.” The Court also encouraged the Legislature to re-examine the statute, holding that that governing body had the power to amend the law to clean up the language if it so desired. If you or someone you know has questions about New Jersey’s Child Protection laws, contact one of the skilled lawyers at Lyons & Associates, PC at 908-575-9777 or contact us at www.lyonspc.com