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State May Vaccinate Children in Its Custody, Even Over Parents' Objection


Added 06-10-19 06:21:01pm EST - “So a New Jersey appellate court held today.” - Reason.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reason.com: “State May Vaccinate Children in Its Custody, Even Over Parents' Objection”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The age appropriate immunizations required by N.J.A.C. 3A:51-7.1(a)(2) are a reasonable means of ensuring the health and safety of the children in the care and custody of the Division, especially during a measles outbreak. Parental rights must yield to the safety and well-being of Son and Daughter under these circumstances. See, e.g., Sadlock, 137 N.J.L. at 88 ("[T]he police power of a state must be held to embrace, at least, such reasonable regulations established directly by legislative enactment as will protect the public health and the public safety." (quoting Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 25 (1905))). Requiring immunization is an appropriate use of the State's police power. Providing age-appropriate vaccinations to Son and Daughter will protect them from needlessly contracting diseases that would subject them to potentially serious complications. Children in the care and custody of the Division deserve nothing less.

The children have been in the continuous care and custody of the Division since October 2017. {Father is a Megan's Law offender subject to community supervision for life. As such, Father is prohibited from "initiating, establishing, or maintaining" or "attempting to initiate, establish, or maintain contact with any minor" and from "residing with any minor," which includes "[s]taying overnight at a location where a minor is present" without prior approval from the District parole Supervisor. [The children were removed from mother's custody because, despite that prohibition,] Father was living with the children and Mother was allowing Father to have unsupervised contact with them.} While parents do not lose all of their parental rights when their children are placed under the care, custody, and supervision of the Division as a result of substantiated abuse and neglect, they are situated differently than parents who retain legal and physical custody.

Eugene Volokh is the Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA and co-founder of the Volokh Conspiracy blog, hosted at Reason.

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