Individual Cases

New Jersey

NJ - K.J. v. DYFS

U.S. District Judge Stanley S. Brotman, United States District Court, District of New Jersey
STATUS: Closed
FILED: May 26, 2004
COURT ORDER ENTERED: November 30, 2005
CASE CLOSED:  March 15, 2006

Children’s Rights, along with co-counsel at Dwyer & Dunnigan, LLC and Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, filed this damages lawsuit in May 2004 on behalf of three minor adopted brothers who were systematically starved by their parents in a foster-turned-adoptive home. The home was approved and monitored by New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). The horrific abuse and neglect suffered by the boys was revealed in 2003 when the eldest brother, Bruce Jackson — then 19 and weighing only 45 pounds — was found scavenging for food in a neighbor’s trash can outside his home in Collingswood, New Jersey.

It was later revealed that DYFS employees had visited the Jackson home at least 38 times over the previous four years, but took no action on reports that the children were malnourished. By the time the boys were finally removed, they required extensive hospitalization due to their severe abuse and starvation.

Shortly after the case was filed, Children’s Rights founder Marcia Robinson Lowry was named guardian ad litem for the three minor boys, while Bruce Jackson was represented by separate counsel. The Settlement Agreement was reached with New Jersey officials in September 2005. It awarded a total of $7.5 million to the three younger boys and another $5 million to their older brother. The settlement also ensured that the children receive needed educational and therapeutic services. As a result of this lawsuit, the right of children in foster care to sue the state for damages has been substantially strengthened.

After their abuse was exposed, the three younger Jackson boys were adopted by a family in New Jersey.