Federal Regulations on Abuse and Neglect
The enactment of abuse and neglect laws shows the commitment of the federal and State governments in protecting children from abuse and neglect and promoting their health and wellbeing. The neglect and abuse laws define the responsibilities and roles of the government in protecting children from the physical, psychological, and emotional harm caused by neglect and abuse. The federal (Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act) and the Florida abuse and neglect regulations focus on protecting children against acts or lack of action from the part of the parent or caretaker that results in harm or poses a risk of serious harm. The examination of the regulations shows their purpose and importance, and outlines the essence of the concept of mandatory reporting, the methods healthcare organizations must observe for compliance, and the penalties for noncompliance. Federal Regulations on Abuse and Neglect
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The Purpose of the Regulation
The abuse and neglect regulation was created with the sole purpose of promoting the welfare of children by ensuring that caretakers and parents understand their rights and act in the good of the health and wellbeing. Petersen, Joseph, and Feit (2017) state that the increasing cases of neglect and child abuse prompted discussion targeting ensuring that parents/caretakers remain responsible in their roles. In Florida, the 2017 Statutes support the Federal regulations by addressing the issues of neglect and abuse in depth. The Statutes focus on abuse, aggravated abuse, and neglect by defining and outlining them and their penalties clearly. According to the Florida regulations, acts such as willful torture, aggravated battery, malicious punishment, caging children, willful and knowingly abusing a child thus causing bodily harm, disability, or the permanent disfigurement to a minor amounts to aggravated abuse of the child (The Florida Legislature, 2017). Additionally, the Statutes define child abuse as the infliction of injury to the child intentionally, causing mental or physical injury. Moreover, intentional acts that are expected to cause injury or encouraging a person to commit acts that put a child at a risk of injury amounts to child abuse. The laws were created to prevent the acts of abuse and promote the psychological, mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of children in the State and the country (Petersen, Joseph, & Feit, 2017).
The neglect regulations encompass the omission or failure to supervise the child, provide the necessary care, and ensure the provision of the essential services for the maintenance of the child’s physical and mental health (The Florida Legislature, 2017). The parent or caretaker is required by the regulations to ensure that the child receives food, shelter, nutrition, clothing, medical care and medication, and supervision to ascertain quality life. The regulations were developed to ensure that parents and caretakers take their responsibilities to promote the growth and development of the child by providing the services deemed essential for the child’s wellbeing (Child Welfare, 2015; The Florida Legislature, 2017). Additionally, the regulations aim to protect the children from exploitation, abuse or neglect by requiring caregiver’s to make reasonable efforts to protect them. In light with the regulations, the Florida and Federal laws on abuse and neglect have a provision for mandatory reporting aimed to ensure that perpetrators of abuse or neglect are reported and the welfare of the affected child or children protected (Petersen, Joseph, & Feit, 2017).Federal Regulations on Abuse and Neglect
The Concept of Mandatory Reporting and Observation of Compliance by Healthcare Organizations
The Federal and Florida regulations support the concept of mandatory reporting. The laws and regulations have identified mandatory reporters for the protection of children from maltreatment and neglect. The regulations mandate professionals such as social workers, child care providers, medical examiners, teachers and school personnel, therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals, nurses, physicians, health care workers, and law enforcement officers to report any cases of neglect or abuse (Petersen, Joseph, & Feit, 2017). In Floridian healthcare setting, physicians, nurses, and health care workers and institutions’ personnel, mental health professionals, practitioners relying on spiritual healing, and social workers are mandated reporters (Child Welfare, 2015). In compliance with the regulations, Florida requires the mandated reporters in the healthcare setting to report all cases of abuse or neglect if one has a reasonable cause to suspect that a parent or caregiver is abusing a child, has abandoned, or neglected his or her duty to protect the child from abuse, sexual exploitation or neglect. Additionally, if a reporter knows of a case where a child needs supervision or care, has no legal custodian or parent, or lacks a responsible adult relative, they are required to report the case in accordance with the regulations to ensure that the child receives the necessary assistance and supervision. The health care mandated reporters are required by law in Florida to provide their names (Child Welfare, 2015).
Penalties for Noncompliance
The Florida abuse and neglect regulations impose penalties in form of fines or imprisonment when the mandated reporters do not report suspected child neglect or abuse in accordance with the law. A mandatory reporter who does not comply with the law can be charged with felony and the institution may attract a fine of a maximum of $1 million (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2015). Additionally, the law requires that institutions, including health care organizations, encourage reporting of cases of abuse by mandatory reporters and avoid preventing another person from reporting. The Florida Statutes dictate that any person who willfully fails to report or willfully or knowingly prevents another from reporting as required by the law commits a third-degree felony thus a maximum 5-years imprisonment, $5,000 fine, and five years’ probation (The Florida Legislature, 2017).Federal Regulations on Abuse and Neglect
The Federal and Florida abuse and neglect regulations focus on protecting children from abuse and ensuring that caretakers/parents do not neglect their roles or abuse their responsibility. The laws/regulations require parents and caretakers to act in a way that creates an environment of the overall growth and development of children without engaging in acts that pose a risk of serious harm to children or expose them to physical, emotional, or psychological harm. Additionally, the regulations mandate reporting of cases of neglect or abuse of the minors. In the healthcare organizations, reporting such cases is mandatory and noncompliance exposes the institution or the employee to legal liability often attracting penalties. There is a need for health care providers and professionals in the setting to report cases of abuse or neglect not only to avoid the penalties including fines, possible imprisonment and probation but most importantly to promote the wellbeing of the children. In reporting, ensuring compliance with the regulations is necessary. For instance, the mandatory reporters in Florida should provide their names to the hotline staff.
Child Welfare. (2015, August). Mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. Retrieved from Child Welfare: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/manda.pdf
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2015, August). Penalties for failure to report and false reporting of child abuse and neglect. Retrieved from Child Welfare: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/report.pdf
Petersen, A. C., Joseph, J., & Feit, M. N. (2017). New science of child abuse and neglect. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. Federal Regulations on Abuse and Neglect