How does the law protect kids in foster case and daycare from abuse and neglect?
There are astounding statistics surrounding children in daycare and foster care situations that sustain neglect or abuse, according to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). In 2006, an estimated 905,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect. Furthermore, and estimated 3.3 million referrals of abuse or neglect, concerning approximately 6 million children, were received by Child Protective Services (CPS). CPS is the agency designated to receive and to act upon reports of suspected child abuse in many states. Care providers from those in a daycare setting to foster parents spend a large day of their day working with the children they oversee and promise to protect. They are the first ones to see maltreatment and sometimes also the ones to cause it, unfortunately. (1)
Can the courts protect children from abuse?
In some states and cases; yes, the case can be out of the hands of CPS and into the hands of the court system. If a child is removed from a foster home, they are more likely to be involved with such a case. A juvenile or family court is often involved with a case involving child maltreatment or criminal court may become involved if there is suspected sexual abuse, extreme physical abuse, or even a death involvement. In some instances, a childcare provider will be asked to appear in court as a witness. This could create a more complete picture of the situation of what is happening in daycare or an at home foster situation. Reporters involved in child maltreatment often want to know about the results of an ongoing investigation, and some states will comply with these requests and make the outcomes known.
There are multiple steps that may be taken for child care providers or other witnesses appearing in court to protect the rights of the foster children or children in daycare who have sustained the abuse:
- The childcare program must be determined to have access to legal counsel.
- The court is interested in facts of the situation unless instructed otherwise.
- Facts, dates, and other proper documentation relating to the abuse situation should be recorded beforehand for usage in court. (1)
In some cases, a child must be removed from an abusive situation immediately, as it is seen as an emergency. States are not required to undertake a hearing process before taking a child into custody in all situations, according to the Fourth Circuit Court. This is to prevent further harm to the child who has already been proclaimed to have been abused in one of these situations. (2)
The law stands by children in a way that works to get them out of an abusive situation and into a better one. If a daycare facility or a foster care home appears to be posing a risk to the child and maltreatment is suspect, the law will step in. In some cases, this incorporates involving CPS to conduct an investigation and, in other and possibly more serious cases, emergencies will be considered and maintained in the hands of the court.