2023 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 9 - Children--Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts
Section 9:6-8.21 - Definitions.

Universal Citation: NJ Rev Stat § 9:6-8.21 (2023)

9:6-8.21 Definitions.

1. As used in P.L.1974, c.119 (C.9-8.21 et seq.), unless the specific context indicates otherwise:

a. "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 or not 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 as defined in section 1 of P.L.1974, c.119 (C.9:6-8.21).

b. "Child" means any child alleged to have been abused or neglected.

c. "Abused or neglected child" means a child less than 18 years of age whose parent or guardian, as herein defined, (1) inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon such child physical injury by other than accidental means which causes or creates a substantial risk of death, or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; (2) creates or allows to be created a substantial or ongoing risk of physical injury to such child by other than accidental means which would be likely to cause death or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; (3) commits or allows to be committed an act of sexual abuse against the child; (4) or a child 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 or guardian, as herein defined, to exercise a minimum degree of care (a) in supplying the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical or surgical care though financially able to do so or though offered financial or other reasonable means to do so, or (b) in providing the child with proper supervision or guardianship, by unreasonably inflicting or allowing 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; (5) or a child who has been willfully abandoned by his parent or guardian, as herein defined; (6) or a child upon whom excessive physical restraint has been used under circumstances which do not indicate that the child's behavior is harmful to himself, others, or property; (7) or a child who is in an institution and (a) 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 or (b) who has been willfully isolated from ordinary social contact under circumstances which indicate emotional or social deprivation.

A child shall not be considered abused or neglected pursuant to paragraph (7) of subsection c. of this section if the acts or omissions described therein occur in a day school as defined in this section.

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 to be abused or neglected.

d. "Law guardian" means an attorney admitted to the practice of law in this State, regularly employed by the Office of the Public Defender or appointed by the court, and designated under P.L.1974, c.119 to represent minors in alleged cases of child abuse or neglect and in termination of parental rights proceedings.

e. "Attorney" means an attorney admitted to the practice of law in this State who shall be privately retained; or, in the instance of an indigent parent or guardian, an attorney from the Office of the Public Defender or an attorney appointed by the court who shall be appointed in order to avoid conflict between the interests of the child and the parent or guardian in regard to representation.

f. "Division" means the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families unless otherwise specified.

g. "Institution" means a public or private facility in the State which provides children with out of home care, supervision, or maintenance. Institution includes, but is not limited to, a correctional facility, detention facility, treatment facility, day care center, residential school, shelter, and hospital.

h. "Day school" means a public or private school which provides general or special educational services to day students in grades kindergarten through 12. Day school does not include a residential facility, whether public or private, which provides care on a 24-hour basis.

L.1974, c.119, s.1; amended 1977, c.209, s.1; 1987, c.341, s.6; 1994, c.58, s.39; 1999, c.53, s.55; 2004, c.130, s.27; 2005, c.169, s.1; 2006, c.47, s.47; 2012, c.16, s.31.

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