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A federal program that helps states cover the cost of placing and keeping a child in foster care grew from $300 million in 1981 to nearly $2.7 billion in 1991.
New Jersey CPS News Archive
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New Jersey News Coverage
Group claims N.J. Family Court system is corrupt
Roughly 30 people on Sunday gathered outside the Passaic County courthouse in Paterson for a rally against alleged corruption in New Jersey's family court system.
The rally primarily centered around the case of a Parsippany man, Tobia Ippolito, 51, who said he was subjected to "biased intimidation, official misconduct, and deprivation of civil rights" by several judges in Morris County during divorce proceedings in 2012.
May 9, 2016
Lobbying Group Thwarts Attempts to Monitor Homeschooled Children with Testing
Advocacy groups for homeschooling have blocked attempts to require homeschooled students to complete annual academic and medical tests.
The controversy started in 2003 when a New Jersey boy, 19, was found going through the neighbor's garbage. He was four feet tall and weighed 45 pounds. He and his three younger brothers were all homeschooled, according to The Pacific Standard.
October 17, 2015
Homeschool parents sue New Jersey, allege -- unlawful, unconstitutional home intrusion
Nothing really changed after a New Jersey state social worker banged on Christopher and Nicole Zimmer's front door, and yet everything was different.
Over the next two hours, the social worker quizzed their 15-year-old son, Chris, including questions on whether his parents fought or did drugs. She wanted to see his homeschool curriculum. She wanted to inspect their firearms. She told the Zimmers to sign papers agreeing to turn over their son's medical records.
October 4, 2015
After violence, family adjusts to harsh new reality
After a childhood spent in foster care, becoming a teenage mother and living in an abandoned house in Camden, Parker had the stability she'd always missed. Her oldest, Yesenia, was a typical 11-year-old; she doted on her younger sisters.
"She was this loving, bubbly child," her mother said. All that was shattered on Jan. 24, 2013, when Yesenia's father, Byaer Johnson, a man she'd barely known but wanted to be a part of her life, shot the girl in the face at close range. Johnson turned the gun next on Yesenia's stepfather, but it failed to fire so he disarmed Johnson, who fled.
August 10, 2015
Midland Park district vows defense against parents' lawsuit claiming retaliation by principal
School administrators have called a borough couple's lawsuit "factually inaccurate" and "frivolous" in its claims that a district principal reported them for child abuse in retribution for a bullying complaint.
A statement, emailed this week by a district administrative assistant at the behest of schools Superintendent Marie Cirasella, said that Midland Park Junior/Senior High School Principal Nicholas Capuano has himself been "defamed" by the lawsuit, which says he made "defamatory" statements about the Burkes to the state's Division of Child Protection and Permanency.
July 7, 2015
Former Pemberton Twp. cop gets probation for endangering welfare of a child
A former Pemberton Township police officer was sentenced Friday to three years of probation for endangering the welfare of a child in connection with inappropriate contact he had with an underage girl.
The victim, now 18, said Kreig's actions, which she claimed included penetration, kissing and touching, "violated" her "body, mind and soul." She claimed that she was only 11 when the sexual abuse started and that it lasted five years. Superior Court Judge Philip E. Haines sentenced Kreig to three years of supervised probation, part of a plea agreement reached with the state.
May 8, 2015
Top 10 lawsuits that cost N.J. taxpayers most in 2014
The state paid out $78.8 million in taxpayer money last year to resolve lawsuits filed against it, an increase of $6.1 million from 2013 and the most since at least 2006.
That amount, however, was eclipsed by the more than $346 million the state brought home through litigation, a $42 million increase from 2013, records show. More than half came through a settlement related to the clean-up of the polluted Passaic River. The state paid out in cases ranging from medical malpractice to train accidents and State Police trooper misconduct. Below is a list of the 10 largest payouts last year, as well as a database of every case in which the state handed over taxpayer money:
March 7, 2015
NJ court takes 'child neglect' to extremes
Did you ever wait in the car while your mom ran an errand? New Jersey says you were abused - and your mom was a criminal.
In an appeals court decision last week, three judges ruled that a mother who left her toddler sleeping in his car seat while she went into a store for five to 10 minutes was indeed guilty of abuse or neglect for taking insufficient care to protect him from harm.
July 14, 2014
Changing marijuana laws forcing judges, child protection services to re-examine endangerment
A Colorado man loses custody of his children after getting a medical marijuana card. The daughter of a Michigan couple growing legal medicinal pot is taken by child-protection authorities after an ex-husband says their plants endangered kids.
And police officers in New Jersey visit a home after a 9-year-old mentions his mother's hemp advocacy at school. While the cases were eventually decided in favor of the parents, the incidents underscore a growing dilemma: While a pot plant in the basement may not bring criminal charges in many states, the same plant can become a piece of evidence in child custody or abuse cases.
June 19, 2014
NJ dad says state is threatening to take away son after pencil twirling incident
13-year-old Ethan Chaplin was the most famous kid in school for a few weeks. A simple pencil twirling incident landed him in hot water with his school, threats of suspension after a classmate claimed he was spinning it like a gun.
After media attention from PIX11 and around the world, school officials backed off - but child protection agencies did not. Letters to Ethan's father, Michael, show the school found his son did nothing wrong at all, and that there would be no disciplinary action. The superintendent was even confident the issue would be behind all of them.
June 10, 2014
When is a priest not a priest? When he's molesting a child, diocese says in defense of lawsuit
The Burlington County man sat in the gallery of the Delaware Supreme Court, watching as a lawyer for the Diocese of Trenton told the justices that the Rev. Terence McAlinden was not "on duty" when he allegedly molested Naples on trips to Delaware.
McAlinden, who once headed the diocese's youth group, had introduced himself to Naples at a church-sponsored leadership retreat in Keyport. He'd heard his confession, included him in private Masses and discussed matters of spirituality with him.
June 6, 2014
The Ballad of Chris Christie and Sabina Rose
In Christie's mind, the medical marijuana movement had already strong-armed him once, and he was clearly displeased that the subject was being brought up again during this first press conference after his landslide re-election victory.
"See, this is what happens," he fumed. "Every time you sign one expansion, then the advocates will come back and ask for another one. Here's what the advocates want: They want legalization of marijuana in New Jersey. It will not happen on my watch, ever. I am done expanding the medical marijuana program under any circumstances." Paula and Phil had made every effort to comply with New Jersey's existing medical marijuana laws, but there were so many doctors to see, so many applications to file, that the process took months - and Sabina didn't have months. She died waiting for the cannabis tincture that could have alleviated her suffering.
February 8, 2014
DeMarrais: Food labels don't tell what's in the genes
Regulations on disclosure leave consumers guessing. Josephine Burriesci already reads food labels and tries to avoid ingredients she can't pronounce.
There is a continuing debate within the scientific community, the food industry and consumer groups on the benefits and dangers of GMOs. They have been called safe by the Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization, but many consumers are concerned about long-term effects.
April 8, 2013
State Investigating Cinnaminson Toddler's Death
The agency that oversees New Jersey's foster-care program is investigating the death of a 1-year-old Cinnaminson girl, who allegedly died at the hands of her foster parent's boyfriend.
Kristine Brown, spokeswoman for the state Department of Children and Families, confirmed Thursday that the agency has launched an inquiry into the death of Claudia Nunes, who died Feb. 12.
March 28, 2013
A man's tortured words detail woes of foster care
Keith Brown has hands that know pain. From hard work. From martial arts. Fingers thick with calluses, scar tissue built up from saw blades and hammers that missed their mark and found flesh.
Brown is one of those guys: a licensed electrician and motorcycle mechanic, a workaday builder who can do carpentry, plumbing and tile. He rides a Harley and drives a '96 Ford Bronco, which he flatly describes as "a piece of (expletive), but it gets me around." But he is also a playwright, and that part of him is seen in his eyes. Brown, 50, has eyes that know pain. From abandonment. From foster care. When he talks about his life, he doesn't cry.
December 23, 2012
Mixed report card again from monitor grading child welfare system overhaul
Nearly a decade after a child's death triggered a sweeping overhaul of New Jersey's child welfare system, a court monitor today praised the state for its "persistent and intensive work".
Far too many caseworkers for the Department of Children and Families did not consistently visit foster children as often as required, nor did they meet with parents, or arrange enough visits between foster children and their parents - steps described as crucial to reuniting troubled families, according to 12th report card on the department's overhaul since 2006.
December 20, 2012
DYFS successfully petitions for termination of parental rights
The New Jersey Appellate Division heard the case Division of Youth and Family Services v. L.J.D. in which the court was asked to render an opinion whether the termination of parental rights of the defendant L.J.D. was properly rendered.
The Appellate Division concluded that L.J.D.'s parental rights were appropriately terminated. In N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1c, DYFS, now known as the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, is required to present clear evidence and prove that the mother's parental rights should be severed based on the following four factors:
November 4, 2012
Child advocate Kevin Ryan on homeless teens
They are homeless, eking out a living on the streets, but largely invisible to us: Teenagers, some of whom have run away from abusive parents only to find more dangers on their own.
Others who are gay have been exiled and shunned by their families. Some simply age out of the foster care system, without a family to guide them with love and support across the bridge to independence, self-love and self-sufficiency.
October 22, 2012
Amazing, Romney still battles Ron Paul in New Jersey
The battle for the soul of the Republican Party is still ongoing. If you doubt that, take a look at the Romney henchman in New Jersey, who is even now, doing everything within his power to resist the involvement of grass roots Ron Paul people.
What you saw in Tampa, where Ron Paul delegates, mostly young and war veterans and Hispanics were unseated, continues in other ways, unabated in state after state, county after county. Governor Mitt Romney is conducting a war on two fronts. On the one hand he is trying to wrest control of the White House from the Democrats in a close election. But simultaneously, as distracting and draining as it may be, he continues the brutal scrub of any challenge to the American oligarchical system by destroying the last vestiges of democracy within his own Republican Party.
October 19, 2012
Video Contest Recruits Teens To Spread Message About Youth Vaccinations
A new video contest is recruiting New Jersey teens to spread the word about the importance of adolescent vaccinations. "Protect Me With 3," a project of the Partnership for Maternal Child Health of Northern New Jersey...
And the state Department of Health is designed to promote creativity and expand knowledge of the tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap); meningococcal conjugate; and human papillomavirus (HPV) immunizations among New Jersey pre-teens and teens 11 through 18 years of age.
September 29, 2012
Medford Lakes man's adoption story takes strange turn
Residents Steve and Pat Carter's life took a very sharp turn recently when their son, adopted 32 years ago, found himself on a missing children's website.
While stationed with the Army in Hawaii the Carters sought to adopt a child and met the 3 1/2-year-old, fair-haired boy. "For Pat and me, it was love at first sight," Steve said. "The social worker told us that the boy had been in foster care for three years, ever since his mother, Jane Amea, was arrested in Honolulu in June 1977."
June 28, 2012
Religion and foster care
A complaint from a Muslim constituent has led the New Jersey legislature's sole Orthodox Jewish legislator to introduce a bill that would mandate that children in foster care be placed with their co-religionists "to the maximum extant practicable."
But one local observant Jewish foster mother to Christian children worries that the bill would make life even harder for children needing foster care and the adults who wish to care for them. She believes that better enforcement of current guidelines, which require respecting a child's religion, along with more formalized efforts by the state's Division of Youth and Family Services to seek religiously compatible foster homes, would suffice.
June 22, 2012
Young scientists from Union present show of knowledge
The HomeSchool Science Club of Union wrapped up a year of activities recently with a science show for their families and friends.
The extracurricular club, which met weekly during the school year, gave home-schooled students the chance to participate in hands-on science activities. For their end-of-the-year show, club members gave scientific demonstrations and explained the science involved.
June 21, 2012
Supporters, critics debate N.J. bill linking foster care to religion
A bill that would make religion a determining factor in foster care and adoption placement has been slammed by critics who say it would limit the pool of families to care for children and could restrict parenting rights for gays.
Strongly supported by an alliance of religious groups, the bill was inspired by the case of a Muslim boy from Paterson who is being raised by a Christian family - a theme that echoes to a time in the nation's past of religious prejudice in adoptions.
June 14, 2012
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