|SAME AS||No Same As|
|COSPNSR||Simotas, D'Urso, Burke, Simon, Stirpe|
|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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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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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. LBD10180-02-9A. 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.