Child Abuse Laws in Connecticut: These are the Child Abuse Laws for the State of Connecticut
Child abuse is defined as the maltreatment or neglect of children physically, psychologically or sexually; especially by a person deemed to be the parent or caregiver of the child. It encompasses not only direct abuse but also the inaction taken by parents or caregivers occurring in places where the child has an interaction with the outside world. Across the United States, child abuse is a social menace, with millions of cases reported annually.
The state of Connecticut has its laws and statutes regarding the terms that constitute child abuse and neglect; being enforced by the Commissioner of Children and Families working under the auspices of the state government. According to the Connecticut General Statutes, the following portions define and determine what constitutes as child abuse:Connecticut General Statutes Section 46b-120: The section determines what are the conditions which determine abuse, neglect, and care of a minor below the age of eighteen.
- Abuse: Abuse is termed as actions done to a child or youth to inflict physical injuries other than by accidental means; has a history of such occurrences; or conditions which result in maltreatment through malnutrition, sexual exploitation, deprivation of necessities and rights, cruel punishment with intent to cause bodily harm or emotional mistreatment.
- Neglect: Neglect is termed as a state of impoverishment; abandonment; denial of proper care and attention of physical, emotional and educational rights; and being made to live in conditions detrimental or dangerous to the well-being of the child or youth.
- Uncared For: A child or youth is deemed ‘uncared for' if he or she is found homeless; unable to be provided for specialized physical or mental care required by the child, or identified as a victim of trafficking as defined under section 46a-170.
Connecticut General Statutes Section 17a-101: The section defines the procedure for reporting of abuse, neglect or injury of a child or reporting risks to cause potential harm to the child. The people belonging to the following professions are required by law to report cases of child abuse to the respective authorities and law enforcement agencies:
- Child health associates
- Hospital personnel
- School employees
- Social workers
- Mental health professionals
- Juvenile or adult parole officers
- Licensed foster parents
- Employees of child care centers, group child care homes or youth camps
Any failure to report cases or suspected cases of child abuse within the prescribed time limit is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Any individual who interferes or prevents such reporting is guilty of a class D felony. The reporter can lodge an oral report to law enforcement agencies within 12 hours of suspected child abuse via telephone, and the law enforcement agency must immediately notify the Commissioner of Children and Families. Furthermore, the law protects the rights of an employee against employer discrimination or retaliation for reporting child abuse cases to the respective authorities. False reporting of child abuse is referred to the office of the Chief State's Attorney for criminal investigation and implies a fine of $2000 with one year of imprisonment or both.
Furthermore, the investigating authorities need to make a home visit to determine the nature, cause, and extent of abuse or neglect; as well as identify the person or persons suspected to be responsible for such violence. The removal of the child from the confines of the premises shall not exceed ninety-six hours; with the commissioner's designee tasked with providing necessary care include physical and medical care of the child, and returned home within the stipulated period.