Could a Paterson Mother Lose Custody of Her Child After Incident at Wal-Mart?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Mar 24, 2023 | 0 Comments

A Paterson mother recently made the news for an incident at Wal-Mart in which she was arrested for shoplifting and endangering the welfare of a child. According to the police, the woman was shopping with her one-year-old daughter and her sister when she was accused of shoplifting. At that point, as she was being taken to the security office, she became upset, and she allegedly placed the child on the floor and kicked her into the office. The child was unharmed and was placed with family members while her mother is being held in jail.

However, this is probably not where the story will end for this young mother and her family. While the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) hasn't publicly said that it will take further action regarding custody of the baby, it's likely the agency will launch an investigation because of the mother's actions in the Walmart.

DCP&P Investigations

DCP&P wants to ensure that all children are being raised in a safe, healthful environment. Hence, a DCP&P investigation strives to determine whether a child's home environment meets basic standards of health and safety and if there is any evidence of abuse. Based on the findings of the investigation, DCP&P may make take action against the parent accused of abusing their child.

We don't know for sure what DCP&P will do in the case of this Paterson mother whose emotions got the best of her in a stressful situation. But in cases where the agency is made aware of allegations of child abuse, it often takes action to remove the child from the custody of the parent who is accused of hurting them, sometimes even moving them into a foster home to ensure their safety. Investigators may also conduct interviews or gather information about the parent to try to find more evidence of abuse. When they feel it is warranted, DCP&P personnel may bring evidence from their investigation to family court to file charges against the parent accused of abuse or terminate or limit their parental rights. In other cases, DCP&P may institute a child safety plan that requires changes to the home environment or requires the parent to attend counseling or treatment sessions to address the issues that may have led to their past behavior. Any of these could be possible paths forward for the Paterson mother, depending on the details of the situation.

Protecting Your Parental Rights

A DCP&P investigation is a serious matter, and for good reason—all children deserve to grow up in a safe environment. However, parents also have the right to raise their children in a way that aligns with their values and addresses the individual, complex needs of their children. In many cases, outsiders can form a false impression that someone's parenting style qualifies as abuse, when really it may just differ from their own, and they may report their suspicions to DCP&P. This can lead to a formal investigation, which can have serious consequences for an entire family. If you're facing a DCP&P investigation or legal charges resulting from one, you need an experienced family law attorney on your side. Contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Team today at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your situation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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