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A06662 Summary:

BILL NOA06662
 
SAME ASNo Same As
 
SPONSORWallace
 
COSPNSRSimotas, D'Urso, Burke, Simon, Stirpe
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd 4505, CPLR; amd 413 & 420, Soc Serv L
 
Enacts the child abuse reporting expansion act which restricts the privileges of clergy members requiring reporting of child abuse or mistreatment and makes clergy members required reporters of child abuse or mistreatment.
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A06662 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A6662
 
SPONSOR: Wallace
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil practice law and rules and the social services law, in relation to the "child abuse reporting expansion (CARE) act"   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill adds clergy members to the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse and maltreatment, and clarifies that this mandatory report- ing requirement supersedes any claim of clergy privilege relating to such abuse.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 states that this act shall be known as the "child abuse reporting expansion (CARE) act". Section 2 amends section 4505 of the civil practice law and rules to exempt communications regarding child abuse and maltreatment from the scope of the clergy privilege. Section 3 amends section 413 of the social services law to add clergy members as mandatory reporters of child abuse and maltreatment and expands mandatory reporting obligations. Section 4 amends section 420 of the social services law to increase the penalties to mandatory reporters for failure to report second and subse- quent offenses and adds penalties for mandatory reporters of child abuse who act as part of a plan or scheme to conceal the abuse or maltreat- ment. Section 5 provides the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: New York's recently enacted Child Victims Act allows child victims of sexual abuse, who were previously time-barred by the statute of limita- tions, the opportunity to file lawsuits concerning their abuse up to age 55. While this is an important step in ensuring prior victims of child sexual abuse are made whole, it is also imperative that we close the loopholes in our law that permitted such abuse to exist undetected for decades. One way to do that is to ensure that clergy members be added to the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse and maltreatment. Clergy members are not included in the otherwise extensive list of profes- sionals required to report suspected cases of child abuse. It is also important to make clear that this mandatory reporting requirement would supersede any currently-existing prohibition on the disclosure of privi- leged clergy communications. Under current law, clergy are prohibited from disclosing any communications made to them relating to child sexual abuse or maltreatment, when such communications are made confidentially in the scope of their professional character as a spiritual advisor. The proposed changes prioritize the protection of children from all forms of abuse and maltreatment and help to prevent future victimization of children. Creating a bright line-rule for mandatory reporting takes the decision-making power regarding assertion of privilege out of the hands of individual clergy and ensures that any clergy who learns of a child being abused or mistreated will have the obligation to report that abuse. Currently, 28 states include clergy members as those specifically mandated by law to report child abuse or neglect, while 6 states qualify clergy privilege in cases of such abuse. Making these same requirements of clergy members within New York furthers the paramount priority of the state to protect our children from abuse and maltreatment, and prevent abuse from occurring in the future.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None to the state.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
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A06662 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          6662
 
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                     March 14, 2019
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by M. of A. WALLACE -- read once and referred to the Commit-
          tee on Children and Families
 
        AN ACT to amend the civil practice law and rules and the social services
          law, in relation to the "child abuse reporting expansion (CARE) act"
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  This  act  shall  be known and may be cited as the "child
     2  abuse reporting expansion (CARE) act".
     3    § 2. Section 4505 of the civil practice law and rules, as  amended  by
     4  chapter 520 of the laws of 1965, is amended to read as follows:
     5    §  4505.  Confidential  communication to clergy privileged. Unless the
     6  person confessing or confiding waives the privilege, a [clergyman] cler-
     7  gy member, or other minister of any religion or duly  accredited  Chris-
     8  tian Science practitioner, shall not be allowed to disclose a confession
     9  or  confidence made to him or her in his or her professional [character]
    10  capacity as spiritual advisor, except when the confession or  confidence
    11  relates  to  a  matter  involving abuse or maltreatment of a minor. Such
    12  privilege shall not be grounds for failure to report a case of suspected
    13  child abuse or maltreatment, as required by section four  hundred  thir-
    14  teen  of the social services law, and shall not be grounds for excluding
    15  evidence of child abuse or maltreatment from any examination, trial,  or
    16  other  judicial  proceeding  in  which  the  commission of such abuse or
    17  maltreatment is a subject of inquiry.
    18    § 3. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1  of  section  413  of  the  social
    19  services  law,  as  amended  by section 7 of part C of chapter 57 of the
    20  laws of 2018, is amended to read as follows:
    21    (a) The following persons and officials  are  required  to  report  or
    22  cause  a  report to be made in accordance with this title when they have
    23  reasonable cause to suspect that a child coming  before  them  in  their
    24  professional  or  official capacity is an abused or maltreated child, or
    25  when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is an abused  or
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD10180-02-9

        A. 6662                             2
 
     1  maltreated  child  where  the  parent,  guardian,  custodian [or], other
     2  person legally responsible for such child or  other  person  related  or
     3  unrelated to such child comes before them in their professional or offi-
     4  cial  capacity  and  states from personal knowledge facts, conditions or
     5  circumstances which, if correct, would render the  child  an  abused  or
     6  maltreated   child:   any  physician;  registered  physician  assistant;
     7  surgeon; medical examiner; coroner; dentist;  dental  hygienist;  osteo-
     8  path;  optometrist; chiropractor; podiatrist; resident; intern; psychol-
     9  ogist; registered nurse; social worker;  emergency  medical  technician;
    10  licensed  creative  arts  therapist; licensed marriage and family thera-
    11  pist; licensed mental health counselor; licensed psychoanalyst; licensed
    12  behavior analyst; certified behavior analyst assistant; hospital person-
    13  nel engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of persons;
    14  a Christian Science practitioner; clergy member or other minister of any
    15  religion; school official, which includes but is not limited  to  school
    16  teacher,  school  guidance counselor, school psychologist, school social
    17  worker, school nurse, school administrator  or  other  school  personnel
    18  required  to  hold  a teaching or administrative license or certificate;
    19  full or part-time compensated school employee required to hold a  tempo-
    20  rary  coaching  license  or  professional  coaching  certificate; social
    21  services worker; employee of a  publicly-funded  emergency  shelter  for
    22  families  with children; director of a children's overnight camp, summer
    23  day camp or traveling summer day camp, as  such  camps  are  defined  in
    24  section  thirteen  hundred ninety-two of the public health law; day care
    25  center worker; school-age child care worker; provider of family or group
    26  family day care; employee or volunteer in a  residential  care  facility
    27  for  children  that  is licensed, certified or operated by the office of
    28  children and family services; or any other child  care  or  foster  care
    29  worker;  mental health professional; substance abuse counselor; alcohol-
    30  ism counselor; all persons credentialed by the office of alcoholism  and
    31  substance  abuse  services;  employees, who are expected to have regular
    32  and substantial contact with children, of a health home or  health  home
    33  care  management  agency contracting with a health home as designated by
    34  the department of health and  authorized  under  section  three  hundred
    35  sixty-five-l  of  this  chapter  or  such employees who provide home and
    36  community based services  under  a  demonstration  program  pursuant  to
    37  section  eleven  hundred  fifteen of the federal social security act who
    38  are expected to have regular  and  substantial  contact  with  children;
    39  peace  officer;  police officer; district attorney or assistant district
    40  attorney; investigator employed in the office of a district attorney; or
    41  other law enforcement official.
    42    § 4.  Section 420 of the social services law, as added by chapter 1039
    43  of the laws of 1973, is amended to read as follows:
    44    § 420.  Penalties for failure to report.  1.  Any person, official  or
    45  institution  required  by this title to report a case of suspected child
    46  abuse or maltreatment who willfully fails to do so shall be guilty of  a
    47  class  A  misdemeanor  for  a  first  offense and a class E felony for a
    48  second or subsequent offense.
    49    2.  Any person, official or institution  required  by  this  title  to
    50  report  a case of suspected child abuse or maltreatment who acts as part
    51  of a plan or scheme having as its object the prevention of discovery  of
    52  child  abuse  or  maltreatment  by lawful authorities for the purpose of
    53  protecting or insulating  any  person,  official,  or  institution  from
    54  arrest  or  prosecution,  shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor for a
    55  first offense and a class E felony for a second or  subsequent  offense,

        A. 6662                             3
 
     1  regardless  of  whether the second or subsequent offense involves any of
     2  the same facts or persons as the first or other prior offense.
     3    3.  Any  person,  official  or  institution  required by this title to
     4  report a case of suspected child abuse or maltreatment who knowingly and
     5  willfully fails to do so shall be civilly liable for the damages  proxi-
     6  mately caused by such failure.
     7    § 5. This act shall take effect immediately.
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