There are people who would not hesitate to call the authorities on another person to be spiteful or to cause them harm. Do they really know or understand what they are doing? Not only are they putting that person through stress, but also the family as a unit will suffer. The children are sometimes removed, from the home, depending on what was reported. in some incidents children must undergo a traumatizing exam. In many states including New Jersey, child abuse laws are written so that it is mandatory that certain professionals report abuse of a child.
The list includes doctors, nurses, social workers, school officials, day care workers, and law enforcement (“Professionals Required to Report,” 2013, p. 2). The call is made anonymous to a statewide toll free hotline. The abuse can be sexual, physical, mental, or neglect. It is a crime and is punishable by jail time and a heavy fine. A person who knowingly or willfully makes a report of child abuse or neglect pursuant to section three of P. L. 1971, c437 (C. 9:6-8. 10) knowing the report to be false is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
This bill S1915 has not been passed into a law yet it will hopefully put an end to those who report false claims of child abuse. DISCRIPTION ON PROPOSED BILL Senator Gerald Cardinale introduced the bill in the Senate from District 39 and Senator Loretta Weinberg from District 37on January 28, 2013. This bill creates an offence of making false abuse report; permits assessment of penalty. The idea was presented to Senator Cardinale office based on a true case of false accusations by a professional citizen.
The bill was then drafted by a non-partisan agency of lawyers who then prepared the bill. On March 27, 2014, the bill was introduced to the Senate. The first reading of the bill was introduced during a session and then given to the Senate Secretary to read the title of the bill aloud. The bill was then printed and released to the public. The Senate President or Assembly Speaker refers the bill to the committee for review. On May 7, 2015, the second reading was reported from the Senate Committee and the bill was also referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
The bill is considered at an open meeting to the public, the bill may be reported to the House as is, if it is not considered it will stay with the committee. The bill is reported to the floor or it can be reported directly and ready for amendment on the floor. The bill No. 1915 is favorably reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It becomes a crime of the third degree if someone knowingly or willfully makes a false report of child abuse. This crime is punishable by imprisonment of three to five years, and or a fine up to $15,000.
In addition, to a civil penalty up to $10,000. This money will go the State Treasurer payable to the Department of Children and Family Services. The journey of this bill, first introduced to the Judiciary committee voted on the passing of the bill to the present of the disposition is pending. CONTACT AND DISCUSSION OF THE BILL I have reached out to Senator Cory Booker for his opinion on the bill on October 15, 2015. I have not received an answer. My email did return, redirecting me back to the same website. I emailed Governor Chris Christie for his opinion of the proposed bill.
I did not get a response and no acknowledgment from the office. I did reach out and contact the two who are the prime sponsor and co-prime sponsor of the bill, Senator Gerald Cardinale and Senator Loretta Weinberg on October 13, 2015. Senator Loretta Weinberg office has informed me that I should contact Senator Gerald Cardinale because he was the actual sponsor of the bill. I spoke to a member of Senator Gerald Cardinale’ team and she informed me that the Senator will call me back. We spoke again on Friday, October 22, 2015 and I was informed he is in Washington and not available to speak to me.
I did discuss the bill with the team member and she told me “the bill was based on a professional family. ” She explained briefly the Senator was presented with a situation from a family that was reported to the authorities falsely. The family wanted to involve the Senator to work on consequences for making false accusations. Senator Cardinale decided to stand behind this family and any other families who are wrongfully accused of this heinous act. On October 22, 2015, I emailed the New Jersey Department of Children and Families to get their opinion of the bill I am waiting on a reply.
On October 26, 2015 I reached out again to Children family Services and was directed to another email site. I emailed the Office of Legal, Regulatory Affairs and was told by Ms. Patricia Lane my questions will be given to the Attorney personally. However, I am awaiting correspondence from that business office. I sent an email to another division of New Jersey Department of Children and Families; the response from Nancy L. Caruso was they did not provide comments on pending legislation. I did reach out to Florida Child Protection Service they have similar laws.
I am awaiting a return message. When the protection of children is in question, all agencies are in an agreement to say nothing. ARGUMENTS PROPONENT OF BILL I have reached out and I am waiting for a response from Senator Cardinale in reference to proponents of the bill in question. This bill will make a difference; the argument is that the caller would be swearing they did not know the allegations were not true. When the complaints are made against an individual, they are looked upon as guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of the people not the law.
The children are sometimes removed from the home and away from their love ones for periods. This can be the goal of the caller for example ex-spouse, a bitter neighbor, and or family member. However if the caller thought the allegations were true and they misread the situation that they observed then, they will not be punished for the call. Will this have an effect on the calls being made from concerned citizens to save a child from harm? When children are involved, we as a people will use any and every means necessary to protect them.
People would have to be angry to place that phone call or complaint because it will do so much damage to the child. If the goal is to hurt the parents financially they will pay to protect their child but at what cost to the child’s dignity and self-image. The outcome will target the child more than the intended recipient. HEALTH STATUS This bill references around the health status of a child and their wellbeing. The child usually will be examined and touched by the medical personal in all places of the body they have never been touched.
This can scar and traumatize a child forever. The examiner will be looking to validate any burns, bruises, fractures, bite marks, injuries of any kind, lacerations, and genitalia and or abdominal or head injuries. The diagnostic testing includes laboratory testing, bloodwork, x-rays, and the vaginal cultures. Most often, the hospital has a team of qualified workers to handle child abuse accusations. This child has been through all of this unnecessarily because someone decided call child protection service.
The amount of discomfort during the exams on a child is ridiculous and the level of pain will increase depending on the accusations. Some children have never been to the emergency room and never had x-rays or a team of health care workers asking questions pertaining to parts of their body. The pain is not only physical it will be emotional as well. When the reporter knowingly calls in the report of child abuse, it will change the family dynamics. The child is most likely thinking what did I do so wrong to have this happen to me. ACCESS TO CARE
A collaboration between agencies will determine if a violation has taken place. When a child is suspected to have been in a situation where the question of abuse has occurred authorities will be called. Once in the care of officials the team will address the complaints and act accordingly. Usually hospital personnel under the guidelines of state officials will take control of the situations. As for the caller the access to care does not change unless they are found guilty of the crime. The caller’s health care will be provided by the state in a correctional facility.