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 https://www.rnceus.com/Shaken/reporting.html
The Administrative Rules pertaining to the Abuse of Children is in chapter 175 of the services chapters of the Iowa Administrative Code. https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/ACO/chapter/441.175.pdf 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:
- Physical abuse
- Mental injury
- Sexual abuse
- Child prostitution
- Presence of illegal drugs in a child's body
- Denial of critical care
- Dangerous substance
- Bestiality in the presence of a child
- Allows access to a registered sex offender
- Allows access to obscene materials
- Child Sex Trafficking
The abuse is the result of the acts or omissions of:
- a person responsible for the care of the child; or
- a person who resides in a home with the child, if the allegation is sexual abuse; or
- a person who engages in or allows sex trafficking.
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. https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/cps/
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:
- Lower the threshold from serious physical injury to bodily injury which requires impairment of a physical condition or substantial pain rather than severe pain or lasting impairment.
- Include behaviors that result in exposing children to potentially harmful medical evaluations or treatment such as fabricating, feigning or inducing a medical symptom or disease (Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy).
- Lower the threshold for serious mental injury to include causing or substantially contributing to the injury through any act or failure to act or series of such acts or failures to act.
The former category of imminent risk has been clarified to include:
- Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child;
- Unreasonably restraining or confining a child;
- Forcefully shaking, slapping or otherwise striking a child under one year of age;
- Interfering with the breathing of a child;
- Causing the child to be present at a methamphetamine lab, provided there is a law enforcement investigation occurring;
- Knowingly leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child’s parent, who is required to register as a sexual offender, sexually violent predator or sexually violent delinquent. This also includes individuals who the parent reasonably should have known were required to register in one of the categories above.