Child Abuse Laws in Nevada: These are Child Abuse laws for the State of Nevada
Child abuse refers to any intentional harm or mistreatment towards a child who is under 18 years of age. Abuse can be physical, mental/verbal, sexual, and neglect. Some State laws also include a child’s witnessing of domestic violence as a form of abuse. In recent times, intentional misuse of medicine or medical equipment on a child is categorized under child medical abuse.
Nevada child abuse laws
Abuse can occur within the family, in a community or an institutional setting such as a school or a daycare. The abuser may be someone the child knows or a stranger, an adult or another child. To protect the child from abuse, several laws are framed. Nevada Child Protective Services under the administration of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for the care and welfare of abused children.
The first step to ensure the safety of an abused child is to contact Child Protective Services. CPS focuses on protecting the child from harm or risk. Child safety is of utmost importance. CPS ensures that the child is safe with the parents or caretakers. The CPS identifies the strengths and risks in a child's home by assessing the functioning of the family. Then develop a plan to address any problem that has been identified.
Any child under the age of 18 is protected by the Child Welfare Services. Abuse or neglect complaints are defined by statute. They include
- Physical injury of non-accidental nature
- Mental injury of non-accidental nature
- Sexual abuse and exploitation
- Excessive corporal punishment
- Negligent treatment or maltreatment that harms a child’s health or welfare
Steps taken by Child Protective Services to regulate child abuse
Nevada CPS agencies conduct activities to prevent, investigate and treat child abuse across the state. These steps include
Intake: is the first step in the process and is the most important decision-making point in the child protection system. When reports of child abuse are received, caseworkers gather information which is used to make a decision regarding child safety, risks and the type of child protective services required. The caseworkers sensitively and professionally respond to the concerns raised by the citizens and community professionals. Each report is treated as a potential case of abuse.
Investigate The intake worker attempts to find as much information as possible regarding the alleged child, the family as a whole, individual members in the family, and the nature, extent, and severity of the abuse. Once the information is collected, the intake worker cross-checks with the agency records and the central registry to govern any past connection or reports associated with the case. The caseworker must collect and analyze the information to determine if it meets the criteria outlined in the Statute. The investigation response time is based on the nature of the allegation and the age of the child.
Case findings: On completion of the investigation, a report is made determining whether there is a reasonable cause to believe that the child is abused. Findings classified as ‘Substantiated’ means that post investigation, there is credible evidence of abuse to the child. ‘Unsubstantiated’ means that there is no credible evidence of child abuse.
Repeat maltreatment: In some cases, re-abuse in the form of another substantiated report will occur. Repeat abuse or repeat maltreatment occurs when the interventions with the family are not successful.
Community-based child protective initiatives
Nevada was one of the first few States to support Community based child protective initiative. CPS alone cannot effectively intervene in the lives of abused children and their families. Community-based child protection initiatives have been implemented to broaden the base of responsibility for supporting families and protecting children. A coordinated effort involving community agencies, CPS and other professionals is essential to protect the victims of abuse.