- The Department of Social Services will now be called the Department of Children and Families.
- A new Office of the Child Advocate has been created within the Governor's Office with broad powers to investigate "critical incidents," defined as "(a) a fatality, near fatality, or serious bodily injury of a child who is in the custody of or receiving services from the executive office of health and human services or 1 of its constituent agencies; or (b) circumstances which result in a reasonable belief that the executive office of health and human services or 1 of its constituent agencies failed in its duty to protect a child and, as a result, the child was at imminent risk of, or suffered, serious bodily injury."
- Provides criminal penalties for "harboring" a ward of the state, but provides a defense "if the defendant concealed or harbored a child in the reasonable good faith belief that the child would be at risk of physical or sexual abuse if the child returned to his custodial residence."
- Improves college benefits for children in foster care.
- Increases penalties for failure of mandated reporters to report abuse.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
New Child Protection Law
Yesterday, Governor Patrick signed a new law, An Act Protecting Children in the Commonwealth (H4905), which provides significant changes to child abuse and prevention law in Massachusetts. Some highlights:
Posted by Meg at 8:12 AM