NJ Laws Directions to Ken Vercammen and Associates Ken Vercammens Resume Ken Vercammen articles

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates
A Law Office with Experienced Attorneys for Your New Jersey Legal Needs

2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison NJ 08817
732-572-0500
1-800-655-2977

Personal Injury and Criminal
on Weekends 732-261-4005

Princeton Area
68 South Main St.
Cranbury, NJ 08512
By Appointment Only
Toll Free 800-655-2977


Administrative Hearing Permitted I/M/O Allegation of Child Abuse Concerning O.O.

Administrative Hearing permitted I/M/O ALLEGATION OF CHILD ABUSE CONCERNING O.O

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY

APPELLATE DIVISION

DOCKET NO.A-5088-08T3

________________________________________________________________

Submitted June 22, 2010 - Decided

Before Judges Carchman and Parrillo.

On appeal from a Final Decision of the

New Jersey Division of Youth and Family

Services.

M.O., appellant pro se.

Paula T. Dow, Attorney General, attorney

for respondent New Jersey Department of

Children & Families, Division of Youth

and Family Services (Andrea M. Silkowitz,

Assistant Attorney General, of counsel;

Lori J. DeCarlo, Deputy Attorney General,

on the brief).

PER CURIAM

Appellant M.O. appeals from a final decision of the

Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) denying her

request for a hearing on an administrative finding of child

abuse.We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

August 25, 2010

A-5088-08T3

2

On October 9, 2002, DYFS received an allegation that

appellants daughter O.O. was physically abused.DYFS

investigated and confirmed the allegations of abuse.DYFS

notified appellant of its determination by a letter dated

November 4, 2002.The letter also explained that if appellant

did not appeal within twenty days, the decision would become a

final agency decision.Appellant received the letter and sent

a November 14, 2002 letter to the Administrative Review Office

declaring that she did not abuse O.O.Although she did not use

the words appeal or hearing, she explicitly challenged the

findings of abuse.Apparently, no action was taken by DYFS.

Five years later, on February 22, 2007, appellant requested

an administrative hearing challenging the 2002 final agency

decision.1The Administrative Hearings Unit denied the request

because appellant filed her request more than twenty days after

DYFSs notification of substantiated child abuse.This appeal

followed.

Appellant contends that she did not receive the November 4,

2002 letter from DYFS until May 7, 2009.She contends that in

2002, she was told the case was closed, but did not receive a

confirmation letter because the computer was broken.While we

1

Apparently, the issue became a matter of concern to appellant

because of work-related issues.

A-5088-08T3

3

question the bona fides of that response, we are satisfied that

DYFS should have afforded appellant a hearing upon receipt of

the November 14, 2002 letter from appellant.

The impact of a finding of abuse is substantial.Among

other sequelae, an abuser is included in the child abuse

registry.If a court determines that a child has been abused

or neglected, the name of the person found to have committed

child abuse and any identifying information are entered into a

Central Registry maintained by DYFS.N.J. Div. of Youth and

Family Servs. v. V.M., 408 N.J. Super. 222, 237 (App. Div.)

(citing N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. M.R., 314 N.J.

Super. 390, 398 (App. Div. 1998), certif. denied, 200 N.J. 505

(2009), cert. denied, 78 U.S.L.W. 3762 (U. S. June 28, 2010).

Our review of an administrative agency decision is limited.

In re Herrmann, 192 N.J. 19, 27 (2007).An administrative

agencys final quasi-judicial decision will be sustained unless

there is a clear showing that it is arbitrary, capricious, or

unreasonable, or that it lacks fair support in the record.Id.

at 27-28.

[T]hree channels of inquiry inform the

appellate review function: (1) whether the

agencys action violates express or implied

legislative policies, that is, did the

agency follow the law; (2) whether the

record contains substantial evidence to

support the findings on which the agency

based its action; and (3) whether in

A-5088-08T3

4

applying the legislative policies to the

facts, the agency clearly erred in reaching

a conclusion that could not reasonably have

been made on a showing of the relevant

factors.

[In re Alleged Improper Practice Under

Section XI, Paragraph A(d) of the Port Auth.

Labor Relations Instruction, 194 N.J. 314,

331-332 (quoting Mazza v. Bd. of Trs., 143

N.J. 22, 25 (1995)), cert. denied sub nom.

Port Auth. Police Benevolent Assn v. Port

Auth., ___ U.S. ___, 1298 S. Ct. 754, 172 L.

Ed. 2d 726 (2008).]

The narrow issue on appeal is whether DYFS abused its

discretion in denying appellants request for an administrative

hearing.

When abuse is substantiated, the child protective

investigator shall advise the perpetrator that [h]e or she

shall have an opportunity to dispute a finding of substantiated

abuse or neglect, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 10:120A.

N.J.A.C. 10:129-5.4(c).Here, appellant had twenty days to

challenge the finding.She did so, but the record is devoid of

how DYFS responded to her response.We also recognize that much

time has passed, yet the impact of the finding remains the same.

We also recognize that appellants contention that she

never received the November 4, 2002 letter informing her of the

agency decision and the timeframe in which she could appeal is

at odds with her later statement in her November 14, 2002 letter

A-5088-08T3

5

that she received the earlier letter.Nevertheless, it appears

that DYFS never responded to appellants denial as well.

In sum, the totality of the circumstances here as well as

principles of fundamental fairness require that the November 14,

2002 letter be considered an appeal, and the matter should

proceed accordingly.We conclude that DYFSs failure to afford

a hearing was in error and we reverse.

We reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent

with this opinion.We do not retain jurisdiction.


   
FOR POTENTIAL CLIENTS TO CONTACT US DURING NON-BUSINESS HOURS, PLEASE FILL OUT THE FORM.
Name:
Cell Phone:
E-Mail Address


If You Do Not Include a Complete E-Mail Address, Network will not Forward Your Contact Form to the Law Office.

Details of the Case
Agree
By typing " agree" into the box you are confirming that you wish to send your information to the Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year

Meet with an experienced Attorney to handle your important legal needs.
Please call the office to schedule a confidential "in Office" consultation.
Attorneys are not permitted to provide legal advice by email.

Kenneth Vercammens Law office represents individuals charged with criminal, drug offenses, and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey. Our office helps people with traffic/ municipal court tickets including drivers charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Refusal and Driving While Suspended.

Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutors Association.

Criminal and Motor vehicle violations can cost you. You will have to pay fines in court or receive points on your drivers license. An accumulation of too many points, or certain moving violations may require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. DMV [Division of Motor Vehicles] or have your license suspended. Dont give up! The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal motor vehicle violations.

When your job or drivers license is in jeopardy or you are facing thousands of dollars in fines, DMV surcharges and car insurance increases, you need excellent legal representation. The least expensive attorney is not always the answer. Schedule an appointment if you need experienced legal representation in a traffic/municipal court matter.

Our website www.KennethVercammen.com provides information on traffic offenses we can be retained to represent people. Our website also provides details on jail terms for traffic violations and car insurance eligibility points. Car insurance companies increase rates or drop customers based on moving violations.

Contact the Law Office of
Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
at 732-572-0500
for an appointment.

The Law Office cannot provide legal advice or answer legal questions over the phone or by email. Please call the Law office and schedule a confidential "in office" consultation.

Ken Vercammen articles

Ken Vercammens Resume Directions to Ken Vercammen and Associates



Disclaimer This web site is purely a public resource of general New Jersey information (intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date). It is not intended be a source of legal advice, do not rely on information at this site or others in place of the advice of competent counsel. The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen complies with the New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct. This web site is not sponsored or associated with any particular linked entity unless specifically stated. The existence of any particular link is simply intended to imply potential interest to the reader, inclusion of a link should not be construed as an endorsement.

Copyright 2018. Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.