Guidance

Child Abuse

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I have gotten many complaints about a woman that has bipolar disorder and have had trouble with her mself.

How do I make a complaint about something that people have been saying NY state. I have no dought these people are honest, but Child protection states I have no profe. I can't get the real proof they alege they need untill after something happens to the kids. I have never done this before, and I don't understand why they don't seem to see the emergancy.

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Here are some resources:

Mandatory Reporters: http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/publications/pub1159text.asp

This also give some good info on what is abuse and what is maltreatment, what they are looking for, etc, etc.

NYS has not directly addressed if Clergy are mandatory reporters and does not currently have a provision of "anyone" as a mandatory report nor has it address privileged communication in its mandatory reporting laws. (ref: http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/clergymandated.cfm)

Below are some laws on abuse reporting for NYS.

Professionals Required to Report

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 413

The following persons and officials are required to report:

Physicians, physician assistants, surgeons, medical examiners, coroners, dentists, dental hygienists, osteopaths, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, residents, interns, psychologists, registered nurses, social workers, or emergency medical technicians

Licensed creative arts therapists, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, or psychoanalysts

Hospital personnel or Christian Science practitioners

School officials, including but not limited to, teachers, guidance counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, school nurses, or administrators

Social services workers, daycare center workers, providers of family or group family daycare, or employees or volunteers in a residential care facility or any other child care or foster care worker

Mental health professionals, substance abuse counselors, alcoholism counselors, or all persons credentialed by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

Peace officers, police officers, district attorneys or assistant district attorneys, investigators employed in the office of a district attorney, or other law enforcement officials

Reporting by Other Persons

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 414

Any other person who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or maltreated may report.

Standards for Making a Report

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 413

A report is required when the reporter has reasonable cause to suspect:

A child coming before him or her in his or her professional or official capacity is an abused or maltreated child.

The parent, guardian, custodian, or other person legally responsible for the child comes before the reporter and states from personal knowledge facts, conditions, or circumstances that, if correct, would render the child an abused or maltreated child.

Privileged Communications

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 415

Notwithstanding the privileges set forth in article 45 of the civil practice law and rules, and any other provision of law to the contrary, mandated reporters who make a report that initiates an investigation of an allegation of child abuse or maltreatment are required to comply with all requests for records made by a child protective service relating to the report.

Inclusion of Reporter's Name in Report

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 415

The report shall include the name and contact information for the reporter.

Disclosure of Reporter Identity

Citation: Soc. Serv. Law § 422-a

Any disclosure of information shall not identify the source of the report.

(ref: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAWS+&QUERYDATA=-at-SLSOS0A6T6+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=EXPLORER+&TOKEN=09813895+&TARGET=VIEW)

NYS has two different bills proposing adding Clergy to the mandatory reporting laws, specifically NY SB 1308 and NY SB 5119.

This should at least provide you with a guidepost on where, what, why and how to report suspected abuse properly.

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If you have a friend or acquaintance in law enforcement -- or an attorney, I would speak to them.  This would be a good question for someone who knows the laws surrounding these issues in your venue.  Avail yourself of the people around you, and if there's a legitimate problem, do what you can to help that won't harm yourself, or anyone else.

-- Rev. Samuel
Universal Life Church of Michigan

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On 10/11/2012 at 3:12 PM, Guidance said:

I have gotten many complaints about a woman that has bipolar disorder and have had trouble with her mself.

How do I make a complaint about something that people have been saying NY state. I have no dought these people are honest, but Child protection states I have no profe. I can't get the real proof they alege they need untill after something happens to the kids. I have never done this before, and I don't understand why they don't seem to see the emergancy.

I teach safe sanctuary at my church and one of the things we do is talk about the kids behavior. If they are acting out of the norm for them or coming in dirty and unkept that’s another reason to call CPS. In my area of NYS you don’t need proof. You can ask them to do a welfare check on the kids. 

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