Monday, August 4, 2014

Breaking News: Board of Ed. Child Abuse Policy is 25 Years Out of Date

But, who cares?  Seriously. Who cares?  This is only about the safety and security of children when they are entrusted to our public school system. So who cares? Not the Montgomery County Board of EducationThe Board of Education has spent 4 meetings in the last 3 months discussing whether or not they can take themselves out to dinner and charge the MCPS budget and NO meetings in 25 years to update the school system's Child Abuse and Neglect Policy. 

Here is the link to the Board of Education's current Policy JHC-EA. Note the last update on page 7. Yes, that says November 1988. Take a look at the first section cited: 5-701 (Page 1). 

This section of Maryland law has been changed a dozen times since 1988.  

**Now, here is CURRENT Maryland Child Abuse and Neglect law section 5-701.**  

Note that sexual abuse now includes pornographic photography, films, poses or similar activity, but no teachers or administrators in MCPS would know that because they have been trained using a Board of Education Policy document that hasn't been updated in 25 years. 





FAMILY LAW  
TITLE 5.  CHILDREN  
SUBTITLE 7.  CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT

Md. FAMILY LAW Code Ann. § 5-701  (2014)

§ 5-701. Definitions.


   (a) In general. -- Except as otherwise provided in § 5-705.1 of this subtitle, in this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.

(b) Abuse. -- "Abuse" means:

   (1) the physical or mental injury of a child by any parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by any household or family member, under circumstances that indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed; or

   (2) sexual abuse of a child, whether physical injuries are sustained or not.

(c) Administration. -- "Administration" means the Social Services Administration of the Department.

(d) Central registry. --

   (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, "central registry" means any component of the Department's confidential computerized database that contains information regarding child abuse and neglect investigations.

   (2) "Central registry" does not include a local department case file.

(e) Child. -- "Child" means any individual under the age of 18 years.

(f) Court. -- Repealed by Acts 2005, ch. 464, § 2, effective January 1, 2006.

(g) Educator or human service worker. --

   (1) "Educator or human service worker" means any professional employee of any correctional, public, parochial or private educational, health, juvenile service, social or social service agency, institution, or licensed facility.

   (2) "Educator or human service worker" includes:

      (i) any teacher;

      (ii) any counselor;

      (iii) any social worker;

      (iv) any caseworker; and

      (v) any probation or parole officer.

(h) Family member. -- "Family member" means a relative by blood, adoption, or marriage of a child.

(i) Health practitioner. --

   (1) "Health practitioner" includes any person who is authorized to practice healing under the Health Occupations Article or § 13-516 of the Education Article.

   (2) "Health practitioner" does not include an emergency medical dispatcher.

(j) Household. -- "Household" means the location:

   (1) in which the child resides;

   (2) where the abuse or neglect is alleged to have taken place; or

   (3) where the person suspected of abuse or neglect resides.

(k) Household member. -- "Household member" means a person who lives with, or is a regular presence in, a home of a child at the time of the alleged abuse or neglect.

(l) Identifying information. -- "Identifying information" means the name of:

   (1) the child who is alleged to have been abused or neglected;

   (2) a member of the household of the child;

   (3) a parent or legal guardian of the child; or

   (4) an individual suspected of being responsible for abuse or neglect of the child.

(m) Indicated. -- "Indicated" means a finding that there is credible evidence, which has not been satisfactorily refuted, that abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse did occur.

(n) Law enforcement agency. --

   (1) "Law enforcement agency" means a State, county, or municipal police department, bureau, or agency.

   (2) "Law enforcement agency" includes:

      (i) a State, county, or municipal police department or agency;

      (ii) a sheriff's office;

      (iii) a State's Attorney's office; and

      (iv) the Attorney General's office.

(o) Local department. -- Except as provided in §§ 5-705.1 and 5-714 of this subtitle, "local department" means the local department that has jurisdiction in the county:

   (1) where the allegedly abused or neglected child lives; or

   (2) if different, where the abuse or neglect is alleged to have taken place.

(p) Local department case file. -- "Local department case file" means that component of the Department's confidential computerized database that contains information regarding child abuse and neglect investigations to which access is limited to the local department staff responsible for the investigation.

(q) Local State's Attorney. -- "Local State's Attorney" means the State's Attorney for the county:

   (1) where the allegedly abused or neglected child lives; or

   (2) if different, where the abuse or neglect is alleged to have taken place.

(r) Mental injury. -- "Mental injury" means the observable, identifiable, and substantial impairment of a child's mental or psychological ability to function.

(s) Neglect. -- "Neglect" means the leaving of a child unattended or other failure to give proper care and attention to a child by any parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of the child under circumstances that indicate:

   (1) that the child's health or welfare is harmed or placed at substantial risk of harm; or

   (2) mental injury to the child or a substantial risk of mental injury.

(t) Police officer. -- "Police officer" means any State or local officer who is authorized to make arrests as part of the officer's official duty.

(u) Record. -- "Record" means the original or any copy of any documentary material, in any form, including a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, that is made by, received by, or received from the State, a county, or a municipal corporation in the State, or any subdivision or agency concerning a case of alleged child abuse or neglect.

(v) Report. -- "Report" means an allegation of abuse or neglect, made or received under this subtitle.

(w) Ruled out. -- "Ruled out" means a finding that abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse did not occur.

(x) Sexual abuse. --

   (1) "Sexual abuse" means any act that involves sexual molestation or exploitation of a child by a parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by any household or family member.

   (2) "Sexual abuse" includes:

      (i) allowing or encouraging a child to engage in:

         1. obscene photography, films, poses, or similar activity;

         2. pornographic photography, films, poses, or similar activity; or

         3. prostitution;

      (ii) human trafficking;

      (iii) incest;

      (iv) rape;

      (v) sexual offense in any degree;

      (vi) sodomy; and

      (vii) unnatural or perverted sexual practices.

(y) Unsubstantiated. -- "Unsubstantiated" means a finding that there is an insufficient amount of evidence to support a finding of indicated or ruled out.

HISTORY: 1987, ch. 635, § 2; 1989, ch. 395; ch. 730, §§ 1, 2; 1993, ch. 318, § 1; 1994, ch. 728; 1998, ch. 46; 1999, ch. 214; 2001, ch. 414; 2002, ch. 279; 2003, ch. 308; 2005, ch. 464, §§ 2, 3; 2006, ch. 44, § 6; 2012, chs. 342, 343.


6 comments:

  1. Regardless, there are still enough loopholes embedded into the current law to keep the legal eagles gainfully employed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "regardless?" So MCPS should leave their policy on child abuse and sexual abuse 25 years out of date just because current law isn't perfect? Right. Leave children to be abused until the current law is sufficient.
      Sorry, don't buy that.
      If MCPS isn't training teachers and administrators on what current law - yes even current law - considers a crime who is looking out for the students? The answer is no one.
      Just wait for the Lawrence Joynes trials this fall and you will find out exactly what can happen in a MCPS classroom without anyone caring a bit about your child.

      Delete
    2. Easy now.. . We need a top down streamlining of the laws in order for them to be effective and a deterrent to child abuse.

      Delete
    3. Meanwhile, leave MCPS children unprotected. Brilliant That's why MCPS left Lawrence Joynes and other teachers in classrooms WITH students for decades. Nice approach.

      How many of the Joynes' victims have you spoken to about your "easy now" approach to protecting children?

      Delete
  2. No, that not what I am saying.
    To its credit, this blog has spent an enormous amount of time and effort revealing the machinations and meanderings of the part-time legislature when it comes to closing loopholes in the current law. Along the same lines, I don’t see why the BOE is spending its time and effort to second guess or paraphrase the current law. Instead, the BOE should reference the current law so that a twenty-five year gap does not occur.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It appears that they are on the exploratory phase of the revision, gathering empirical data from the four corners of the state.

    ReplyDelete

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