State descriptions of child abuse

State descriptions of child abuse

The following are examples of descriptions of child abuse rulings from Iowa, Kentucky, New York and Pennsylvania. A list of contact numbers to report potential abuse situations for each state and the territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands can be found at the following link


The Administrative Rules pertaining to the Abuse of Children is in chapter 175 of the services chapters of the Iowa Administrative Code. The Department of Human Services has the legal authority to assess child abuse when it is alleged that the victim is a child subjected to one or more of the categories of child abuse defined in Iowa Code section 232.68:

The abuse is the result of the acts or omissions of:

In Iowa it is everyone’s responsibility to report child abuse. If a child is in imminent danger, call 911. Iowa Guidelines for mandatory reporters

Kentucky Law on Child Abuse

In addition to the purposes set forth in KRS 600.010, chapter 620.010 legislative purpose shall be interpreted to effectuate the following express legislative purposes regarding the treatment of dependent, neglected and abused children. Children have certain fundamental rights which must be protected and preserved, including but not limited to, the rights to adequate food, clothing and shelter; the right to be free from physical, sexual or emotional injury or exploitation; the right to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally to their potential; and the right to educational instruction and the right to a secure, stable family. It is further recognized that upon some occasions, in order to protect and preserve the rights and needs of children, it is necessary to remove a child from his or her parents. Kentucky Revised Statutes - KRS Chapter 620.010

In Kentucky child abuse cases are referred to as DNA actions; dependent, neglected or abused. In Kentucky law, “abused or neglected child” means a child whose health or welfare is harmed—or threatened with harm—when his or her parent, guardian, or other person exercising custodial control or supervision does the following:

Kentucky Revised Statutes KRS Chapter 620

New York definitions

Child abuse is defined in New York State in Section 412 of the Social Services Law and in Section 1012 of the Family Court Act as follows:

An Abused child means a child less than 18 years of age whose parent or other person legally responsible for the child’s care inflicts serious physical injury, creates a risk of serious physical injury or commits or allows someone else to commit a sex abuse act against a child. New York State defines maltreatment as referring to the quality of care a child receives. Those legally responsible for a child needs to provide a safe environment and provide food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care. Maltreatment can result from child abandonment by not providing adequate supervision or being too intoxicated or drugged to adequately supervise a child.

Pennsylvania definitions

The Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) was signed into law in 1975. Its intent was to protect children from abuse, promote healthy growth and development within a stable family. On December 31, 2014, amendments to the CPSL were made to expand the definition of child abuse to require that acts or failures to act be committed intentionally, knowingly or recklessly. PA Title 23 CHAPTER 63 CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES

Child abuse includes the following refinements:

The former category of imminent risk has been clarified to include:

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All states use the same definition of child abuse.