In 1973, a law called Child Protective Services Act was introduced to streamline the reporting of child abuse and maltreatment. A Child Protective Service was established in each county across New York State, which by law, is required to investigate each report of abuse, prevent further abuse, and provide rehabilitative services to child victims and their families.
Child abuse can take many forms—even in seemingly not obvious ways. Maltreatment, or neglect, refers to the care, or lack of care, that a child receives from those responsible for that child. A perpetrator of maltreatment or neglect may deny the child food, clothing, shelter, medical attention or education. Should a child dwell in a home where adult drug use is imminent, the environment would be considered highly neglectful. A person can even be found guilty of child abuse simply by knowing that another person is harming a child, yet opting to look the other way, thus allowing it to continue.
As a hopeful catch net, certain individuals (mandated by their profession) are legally bound to report any possible abuse to authorities. Those professionals include, but are not limited to: medical personnel, school officials, social service workers, child care providers, and law enforcement officers. It is their sworn duty to help protect children, and if they fail to do so, they may face consequences themselves. So, in cases of abuse, these individuals are often sought after to aid Child Protective Service workers in accurately discerning fact from fiction in all child abuse and neglect cases.
What has consistently challenged Child Protective Services, the courts, and others however, are the rampant false accusations surrounding child abuse. While many reports are very real and require legal, supportive intervention to protect a child, some cases are simply an active abuse of the Child Protective Services support system. For example, perhaps you are a child care provider with an unhappy parent who makes a report against you. Even if you know you are not guilty, each and every report has to be investigated by Child Protective Services.
And investigate, they will. Once a call is fielded by the Child Protective Services ‘hotline,’ the agency will assign a worker to interview the alleged victim, his or her family and friends, and any other adults that may have contact with the child. Information and evidence is then collected to determine whether the allegation of abuse is founded or unfounded. In severe cases, the child may be removed from the home until the Child Protective Services investigation is complete.
Those that understand this process have abused the system in the past—specifically when custody is at stake. Children become caught in the crosshairs of difficult divorces. Disgruntled spouses seeking avenues to increase their chances of gaining custody may falsely accusing their ex-spouse of abuse in the hope that they will win favor in the eyes of the court and at the same time, cause added grief.
Should this occur, seek legal representation immediately. The family law attorneys of Marnell Law Group, P.C. are able to provide the guidance and support necessary to navigate this difficult time. We understand that the process of resolving family issues can be emotional and heart wrenching, and with our decades of experience, we will aggressively defend the rights of our clients in all areas of family law.