A woman who inadvertently left her 4-year-old son in an empty house while she went out to dinner may not have been a model parent, but neither did she deserve to be pilloried on the state Child Abuse Registry, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

“There exists a continuum between actions that are grossly negligent and those that are merely negligent,” wrote Justice Virginia Long for the unanimous Court in DYFS v. T.B., A-21-10. “The parent’s conduct must be evaluated in context based on the risks posed by the situation.”

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