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Standards Relating to Abuse and Neglect

NCJ Number
Date Published
217 pages
This volume proposes and comments on standards for each major decision made regarding child abuse and neglect: the scope of mandatory reporting laws, the basis for coercive court intervention, the grounds for removing children from and returning them to their homes, both pre- and postadjudication, and the basis for termination of parental rights.
It proposes procedural standards for making each of these decisions and establishes mechanisms for ensuring the quality of all institutional decisionmakers. The text also proposes standards to regulate the process of 'voluntary placement' of children into foster care without court intervention, since this process is closely connected with the coercive intervention system. The standards provide for a number of monitoring and testing procedures designed to permit continual evaluation of the entire intervention process. A basic tenet is that great deference should be given to 'family autonomy.' The terms 'neglect,' 'abuse,' and 'dependency,' are replaced by a new term, 'endangered child.' The standards specify the conditions constituting 'endangerment.' Coercive intervention is limited to situations where the child has suffered or is likely to suffer serious harm. The standards reject expansion of mandatory reporting laws beyond cases of physical abuse since reporting laws are most effective when dealing with this type of abuse. Over 100 references are appended. (Author summary modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1981