Child-welfare investigators faulted after death ot N.J. toddler

A state report says child-protection workers in New Jersey could have done a better job of investigating domestic violence complaints before the death of an Ocean County girl.

Child-welfare officials in New Jersey failed to connect concerns of child abuse and domestic violence in the case of a 2-year-old whose father is accused of tossing her to her death still strapped in her car seat in November, according to the review released Tuesday.

In the months before the child’s death, Division of Youth and Family Services investigators responded to complaints the girl’s father and mother brought against each other.

Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake determined investigators failed to connect red flag concerns about abuse, substance abuse, and violence at the child’s home.

Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, said the findings are troubling.

“Talking to people who know the family, going beyond just the immediate allegation but getting information is critically important, and those contacts were not made,” she said.

Zalkind said she hopes the report serves as a wake-up call that investigators must be more thorough to prevent the possibility of future tragedies.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.