Understanding the legal definition of relevant terms associated with New York child abuse or neglect allegations is imperative when you are the subject of a report alleging child abuse, maltreatment and/or neglect. These definitions are set forth in the Social Services Law, the Family Court Act and the Mental Hygiene Law as well as the Regulations of the Department of Social Services.
For purposes of an investigation by a Child Protective Services agency, there are several ways a child can be deemed abused. Here, I will discuss what is probably the most commonly alleged abuse; the infliction of a physical injury. An abused child is a child less than 18 years of age whose parent or other person who is legally responsible for his care inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon that child a physical injury by other than accidental means which causes or creates a substantial risk of death, or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ. 18 NYCRR § 432.1(a)(1); Fam Ct. Act § 1012(e)(i). Note, that the definition is similar but not identical to the definition of physical injury found in the New York Penal Law and pertains to assault charges.
Therefore, to meet this “physical injury” definition of “abused child”, the child must be less than 18 years of age, the abuse must be inflicted by the parent or other person legally responsible for the child; the child must suffer a physical injury not caused by an accident and that physical injury must cause or create a substantial risk of death, or serious or protracted disfigurement, or a protracted impairment of the child’s physical or emotional health or the protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ. In other words, based upon this definition, the physical injury must be fairly serious. In future blogs, I will review cases where abuse by physical injury was alleged.
If you have been contacted by Child Protective Services or the police regarding an allegation that you abused or neglected your child, contact Tilem & Campbell toll free at 1-877-377-8666 or visit us on the web at www.tilemandcampbell.com.