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ISSUES RELATED TO THE ROLE OF LAW LITIGATION AND ADVOCACY IN IMPROVING SOCIETY'S ABILITY TO DELIVER CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES (FROM NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT - PROCEEDINGS, 1ST, ATHENS, GEORGIA, JANUARY 4-7, 1976 - SEE NCJ-42975)

NCJ Number
42981
Author(s)
P COSTIGAN
Date Published
1976
Annotation
AN ATTORNEY DESCRIBES THE LEGISLATIVE EXPERIENCE BEHIND THE ENACTMENT OF THE CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICE ACT OF 1973, AND DISCUSSES ACTIVITIES OF THE NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON CHILD ABUSE.
Abstract
THE DEATH OF CHILD IN 1969 STIRRED INTEREST IN THE PROBLEM OF ABUSED AND NEGLECTED CHILDREN IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. IN RESPONSE, THE NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY SELECT COMMITTEE ON CHILD ABUSE WAS FORMED AND BEGAN IMMEDIATE LEGISLATIVE ACTION, WHICH RESULTED IN THE ENACTMENT OF ARTICLE 10, A MAJOR BILL IN FAMILY LAW. THE NEW ARTICLE 10 ESTABLISHED A SEPARATE 'CHILD ABUSE' SECTION IN THE FAMILY COURT FOR THE SPECIALIZED HANDLING OF THESE CASES, FASHIONED A DEFINITION OF CHILD ABUSE AND STRENGTHENED THE REPORTING LAW. THE PRESENTATION OF CASES IN FAMILY COURT WAS ALSO STRENGTHENED, IN THAT POLICE ATTORNEY'S CORPORATION COUNSELS OR DISTRICT ATTORNEYS WOULD NOW HANDLE CHILD ABUSE CASES IN THE FAMILY COURT. HOWEVER, THE BILL HAD BEEN DRAFTED AND ENACTED UNDER LIMITATIONS SUCH AS ABSENCE OF SPECIALIZED STAFF AND LACK OF TIME TO HOLD HEARINGS, AND AFTER THE BILL BECAME LAW IT MET WITH CRITICISM FROM PROFESSIONALS WHO HAD TO IMPLEMENT THE LAW. AFTER MUCH DEBATE A NEW BILL WAS PASSED INTO LAW, BUT THE AUTHOR POINTS OUT THE NEED FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP FROM OUTSIDE THE LEGISLATURE IN CREATING A VIABLE SYSTEM. AFTER INITIAL SETBACKS, THE CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES ACT BECAME LAW IN 1973. IT DEFINES ABUSE AND NEGLECT AS THEY APPEAR IN THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW AND THE FAMILY COURT ACT. ALL REPORTS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT ARE TO BE REGISTERED. A CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICE WAS TO ESTABLISHED IN EACH LOCAL PUBLIC DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, AND EACH LOCAL CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICE HAD TO DEVELOP AN ANNUAL PLAN IN CONSULTATION WHICH OTHER AGENCIES AND GROUPS. REPORTS ARE TO BE INVESTIGATED WITHIN 24 HOURS, AND THE LOCAL SERVICE HAS TO SUBMIT PERIODIC PROGRESS REPORTS TO THE STATE CENTRAL REGISTER. AMONG OTHER PROVISIONS, THE LAW ALSO SPECIFIES THE DUTIES OF THE LOCAL SERVICE AND CHILD PROTECTIVE WORKER, AND SETS UP A REVIEW PROCEDURE FOR PARENTS CONTESTING REPORTS OF THE LOCAL SERVICE. THE AUTHOR'S CONCLUSIONS CONTAIN PRACTICAL ADVICE TO LEGISLATORS PREPARING PROPOSALS, STRESSING COMMUNICATION BETWEEN LEGISLATORS AND PROFESSIONALS.