New Law Clarifies Child Abuse Reporting Standards

Child-Abuse-Reporting-StandardsIllinois has long criminalized the abuse and neglect of children. But until recently, the law did not specifically include provisions concerning situations where someone acting in a professional capacity in a child care facility did not report suspected abuse or neglect of a child.

Child Care Facility Reporting Requirements

In response to concerns that incidences of child abuse at child care facilities and child welfare agencies were going unreported, the Illinois legislature drafted and passed amendments to the Child Care Act.  Slated to go into effect on July 1st, Senate Bill 1763 requires the Department of Children and Family Services to create rules and procedures regarding the failure of employees of child care facilities or child welfare agencies to report suspected abuse or neglect within the care facility.

The new law applies to agencies or child care facilities that are licensed under the Child Care Act, as well as to transitional living programs that accept children and adult residents for placement who are in the guardianship of the Department.

Rules and Procedures

The new rules must include provisions indicating the actions the Department will take to:

  • Ensure that the child care facility takes immediate action; and
  • Investigate whether the failure to report suspected abuse was a single incident, part of a larger incident involving additional employees, or a system-wide problem within the facility.

The rules must also include the use of corrective action plans and the use of supervisory teams to review employee understanding of reporting requirements.

Abuse and Neglect

In Illinois, the definition of child abuse includes:

  • The infliction of physical injury which causes death, disfigurement, impairment of physical or emotional health, or loss or impairment of bodily function;
  • Creation of a substantial risk of physical injury;
  • Commission of any sex offenses;
  • Acts of torture or mutilation;
  • Excessive corporal punishment;
  • The sale, transfer, or distribution of a controlled substance; or
  • Involuntary servitude.

It is important to note that in regards to child care facility employees, any form of corporal punishment committed against a child is considered abuse.

A neglected child is one who is:

  • Not receiving the necessary nourishment or medical treatment, including food, clothing, and shelter;
  • Subjected to an injurious environment that, because of a blatant disregard of caretaking responsibilities, creates a likelihood of harm to the child’s health; or
  • Abandoned by those responsible for his or her care, without a proper plan of care.

If you have been charged with failing to report an incident of suspected child abuse and you work for a child care facility, it is extremely important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. Please contact the skilled Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC for a free consultation.