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A04996 Summary:

BILL NOA04996
 
SAME ASNo Same As
 
SPONSORTitus
 
COSPNSR
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd 417, Soc Serv L
 
Provides that a child shall not be taken into protective custody based on an allegation that a custodial parent or guardian suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy without a family court hearing on such allegations.
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A04996 Actions:

BILL NOA04996
 
02/06/2017referred to children and families
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A04996 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A4996
 
SPONSOR: Titus
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to taking a child into protective custody on the basis of an allegation of a parent or guardian with Munchausen syndrome by proxy   PURPOSE: To provide that a child shall not be taken into protective custody based on parent's Munchausen syndrome by proxy without a family court hearing.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill would require that before a child can be taken into protective custody on the basis of an allegation that a parent or guardian has Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP), a hearing must be held, with an opportunity for such parents or guardian to be heard, allowing the parent or guardian to present evidence, including expert testimony that they do not suffer from MSBP. The bill would also allow the child's pediatrician or primary care physician a specialist to rebut: the allegation at the hearing.   EXISTING LAW: New Bill.   JUSTIFICATION: Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (MSBP), a form of child abuse played out in the medical setting, was originally described by English pediatrician Roy Meadow, in 1977. By 1995, to his surprise, MSBP had become so popu- lar that Meadow admitted that the diagnosis had been overused and misun- derstood by some social workers and legal professionals. After 30 years of clinical and legal experience, the definition of MSBP remains contro- versial. As a result, mothers who present the problem of their children in ways perceived as unusual or problematic have become entangled in legal battles that should have been resolved clinically. Loren Pankratz, PhD, an expert on the diagnosis of MSBP published an article in the American Academy of psychiatric Law providing that the medical litera- ture on MSBP often mentions false accusations or the possibility of false accusations, but does not convey the prevalence of these misunder- standings or the devastating consequences of a wrong diagnosis". That in case after case "experts disagree about how to define and confirm MSBP." Consequently, even though there is very little consensus on the diagno- sis of MSBP, children are removed from their family homes based upon such diagnosis prior to a formal hearing taking place. This leads to children being separated from their mothers and fathers, in some cases for-long periods of time, which, may be very harmful to the child being removed. This bill would require a formal hearing prior to removal in the case of an allegation of MSBP.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A3964 (2015-2016) Referred to Children and Families 1/06/16 A3365 (2013-2014) Referred to Children and Families 1/08/14 A3365 (2013-2014) Referred to Children and Families 1/25/13 A2559 (2011-2012) Referred to Social Services 1/04/12 A5169 (2009-2010) Print Number 6159A; Amend and Recommit to Social Services 5/26/10 A11557 (2007-2008) Referred to Social Services 6/12/08   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately, and shall apply to any child in protective custody on or after such effective date.
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A04996 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          4996
 
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                    February 6, 2017
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by M. of A. TITUS -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Children and Families
 
        AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to taking  a  child
          into  protective  custody on the basis of an allegation of a parent or
          guardian with Munchausen syndrome by proxy

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1. Subdivision 1 of section 417 of the social services law is
     2  amended by adding two new paragraphs (c) and (d) to read as follows:
     3    (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law  to  the  contrary,  no
     4  child  shall  be  taken into protective custody pursuant to this section
     5  when the basis thereof is an allegation that a custodial parent or guar-
     6  dian has Munchausen syndrome by proxy, unless and until a  family  court
     7  shall have held a hearing, with an opportunity for such parent or guard-
     8  ian  to  be heard, and shall have found reasonable cause to believe such
     9  allegations are true. The parent or  guardian  alleged  to  suffer  from
    10  Munchausen  syndrome  by proxy shall, at any such hearing, be allowed to
    11  present evidence, including expert testimony, that he or  she  does  not
    12  suffer from such syndrome.
    13    (d) In any hearing held pursuant to paragraph (c) of this subdivision,
    14  if  the  child's  pediatrician,  primary  care  physician  or specialist
    15  charged with treating such child disputes the allegation  of  Munchausen
    16  syndrome  by  proxy  made against the child's parent or guardian, and if
    17  such physician testifies, whether by affidavit or before the court, that
    18  the child's medical treatment in  question  or  the  child's  course  of
    19  treatment  in  general is or was necessary for the health and well-being
    20  of such child, then the family court shall find that the  allegation  of
    21  Munchausen  syndrome  by  proxy has been rebutted, and shall not enter a
    22  finding of abuse or neglect based  upon  Munchausen  syndrome  by  proxy
    23  against  the  child's  parent  or guardian, and shall not order that the
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD02796-01-7

        A. 4996                             2
 
     1  child be  taken  into  protective  custody  for  reasons  of  Munchausen
     2  syndrome by proxy.
     3    §  2.  This  act  shall  take  effect  immediately, provided that such
     4  provisions shall apply to any child in protective custody  on  or  after
     5  such effective date.
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