It is an unfortunate fact of society the child abuse and neglect occurs
in every village, town, and city within this country. Kingston and the
rest of the Mid-Hudson Valley region are not immune to this horror. Many
of these atrocities affect very young children who end up being targeted
as easy to abuse due to their lack of understanding or ability to communicate.
Further, child abuse and neglect can affect entire families can cause
significant rifts within not just the immediate family unit, but even
the extended family.
While it may appear easy to define child abuse or child neglect, it can
actually be very difficult. For instance, cyber bullying has added a new
dimension to abuse which many lawmakers are struggling to define and find
resolutions for. There have been efforts though. According to the
Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, reauthorized in 2010, “any recent act or failure to act on the
part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical
or emotional harm . . . [and/or] an act or failure to act which present
an imminent risk of serious harm” is abuse or neglect.
You can tell that these definitions are very broad. Such was done by design
and it allows each individual state to expand on these definitions. Therefore,
a case in Kingston Family Court will require the attorney to have knowledge
of federal statutes and how New York abuse and neglect statutes interact
with each other because New York has defined abuse and neglect with an
eye towards the federal legislation.
Section 1012 of the Family Court Act of New York defines, in part, child abuse in the following way:
“any child less than eighteen years of age whose parent or other
person legally responsible for his care inflicts or allows to be inflicted
upon such child physical injury by other than accidental means which causes
or creates a substantial risk of death, or serious or protracted disfigurement,
or protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted
loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ…”
The Family Court Act also defines a neglected child, in part, as being a,
“Child less than eighteen years of age whose physical, mental or
emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming
impaired as a result of the failure of his parent or other person legally
responsible for his care to exercise a minimum degree of care in supplying
the child with adequate food, clothing shelter or education, or medical,
dental, optometrical or surgical care….”
Neglect is also referred to as “maltreatment”. Other terms
mentioned above, such as “imminent risk” is highly nuanced
and is something that social service agencies use with the state. Additionally,
some professionals are considered by New York to be “mandated reporters”
and these people must report suspected cases of abuse and neglect or else
suffer civil liability or criminal penalty. Below is a list of some of
the mandated reports deputized by the New York State Office of Children
and Family Services:
- Social Workers;
- Registered Nurses;
- Police Officers;
- School Officials;
- Day Care Workers; and
These professionals will report to the appropriate state agency any instance
in which they believe a child has been physically harmed, which also includes
sexual abuse. Additionally, if the child’s basic needs are not being
met, such as when a child lacks adequate food, clothing, shelter, or other
basic necessities, a report must be made. Emotional abuse must be reported
too if it is believed to be harming a child’s emotional development.
Child abandonment and a child’s or parent’s substance abuse
must be reported as well.
You should also know about bullying and a school’s responsibility
to intervene when students are being bullied. In fact, school officials
can be held liable if they fail to protect a child from bullying. Family
courts can also protect, via protection orders, your child from abusive
spouses or significant others. When we use the term, “school”,
please know that we mean more than just elementary, middle, and high schools.
Abuse can occur in day cares, treatment facilities, and religious schools as well.
Child sexual abuse cases are unfortunately common, and are subject to the
mandatory reporting rules stated above, and may require the help of an
Kingston personal injury attorney who has handled these types of cases in the past. These attorneys are
aware of common types of sexual abuse and they know experts who can testify
on a child’s behalf.
Counties employ highly skilled and experienced attorneys to prosecute persons
alleged to have committed child abuse and neglect. Additionally, social
service agencies employ staff and attorneys to review and thoroughly investigate
cases of alleged abuse or neglect.