The first child abuse reporting law in California was enacted in 1963. The early California laws only mandated that physicians report physical abuse. Thankfully, over the years, numerous amendments have expanded the definition of child abuse and the persons required to report the activity. Procedures for reporting categories of child abuse have also been clarified more distinctly. In California, certain professionals are required to report known or suspected child abuse. Other citizens, not required by law to report, may also do so in order to help. It is important for practitioners and other mandated reporters to keep updated on periodic amendments to the law. Your local Child Abuse Prevention Council or Child Protective Agency (see above) have current reporting law information.

Federal legislation

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is a federal law that supports individual state programs across the United States that focus on prevention and identification of child abuse through preventive and public awareness programs that are community based. The goal of this federal law is to help provide comprehensive care to the actual victims, or potential victims, of child abuse. It helps to integrate the services provided by a wide variety of agencies, including educational, legal, mental health, and social service organizations.

Final considerations for child abuse

As every adult knows, prevention is key for child abuse. Therefore, we all should be watchful of its signs and symptoms. It is also good to be especially mindful of children with disabilities because they are more than twice as likely to be victims of child mistreatment or abuse than are children with no disabilities. Bone injuries tend to be one way hospitals and health care providers are watchful of suspected child abuse since health experts have reported that more than one-third of all abused children will suffer some type of bone fracture. If a child, for example, has multiple fractures involving different bone groups, or multiple fractures in different stages of healing, then child abuse should be strongly suspected in the absence of some type of specific disease of the bones.

It is the hope that this article can explain some insight into this growing national problem - given that California and all of the states have a sizable population of children with special needs and challenges, it is unfortunate that adult and teenage predators target these children for child abuse and exploit them when they can. For those in the medical field, a special insight is needed to identify child abuse or even potential child abuse when certain injuries arrive in their medical offices. 

Contact a child abuse lawyer today  if you have questions.